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Thursday, August 11, 2011

10 BlogHer Tips from a First Time Attendee

Last weekend I attended BlogHer.  It was my first time going to this much talked/blogged about conference and it met and exceeded my expectations.  I'll be posting a highlights article soon but for now I thought I'd share a few of my learnings (while fresh in my mind) for any of you who are planning on  or thinking about attending BlogHer next year in New York.
  1. Sign-up for events right away.  Throughout the weeks leading up to BlogHer you will see various emails going out about sponsored events (everything from yoga to private parties).  If you are even mildly interested, jump on these invitations right away because they fill up fast!  I missed out on several fun events due to my laissez-faire attitude.
  2. You don't have to register for sessions.  Up until days before I left for San Diego, I was under the impression that I needed to sign up for the various sessions.  I was panicking because I had not registered for any of the educational sessions and thought I'd be stuck on a wait list (ala the private parties).  Thankfully, I found out (by emailing the BlogHer staff) that you do not have to register.  Just show up to hear the speakers you want and if you realize during the session that it isn't really for you, you can feel free to get up and go to another session (it isn't considered rude, they encourage you to do so).
  3. Have a plan.   My roommate, Michele from Scraps of My Geek Life, gave me this tip.  I know it might seem obvious to some, but to this fly by the seat of your pants gal, it was a great reminder.  Whether you go old school with a paper based list or use the BlogHer app (yep, they think of everything), it is good to have a general idea of where you want to go and when.
  4. Move beyond your comfort zone.  Unfortunately, my blogging partner was unable to attend this conference.  While I missed her company and having her as my wing-man, it forced me to move beyond my comfort zone and go out and meet more people. 
  5. Reach out.  This goes along with the point above.  When you see someone standing around looking a bit lost or lonely, reach out and say "hi."  You will be surprised by the wonderful people that you will meet and the connections you will make.  
  6. Leave room in your suitcase for swag.  From your registration bag to the expo floor,  swag can be found everywhere.  Thankfully, I knew to bring a suitcase that was a little bigger than what I actually needed for my clothes to make room for the goodies I received from companies like 3M,  Dr. Scholls, Philosophy, Tempurpedic, Red Envelope and more.....
  7. Give yourself space.   BlogHer can be very overwhelming.  There is so much to see and do and your head will start spinning with ideas.  Remember it is o.k. to take a break and from the conference and enjoy the host town.  This year, it was held in San Diego and I took a BlogHer Break by taking a stroll along the beautiful harbor.  
  8. Wear comfortable shoes.   Leave your 6 inch heels behind and be sure to wear your stylish comfort shoes.  You'll be walking all over the place and you don't want your dogs barking after just one day.
  9. Bring lots of business cards.   Thankfully I had a large stack of cards with me to hand out.  I was amazed at how quickly everyone would pass out their cards.  Before I could even finish saying, "Hello, I'm Kristina" a card was held out to my hand.   I swear they are traded faster than Pokemon cards.  
  10. Get your groove on.   The parties hosted by BlogHer were really fun.  As I stated earlier, I was not fast enough on the draw to get "on the list" for many of the private parties but it didn't matter because the BlogHer parties were a real hoot.  I met a lot of inspiring, fun women who enjoy a good party regardless of who is throwing it.  

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