Monday, 9 March 2015

Tips to Survive Your First Blog Event featuring Blog On Cymru

This is a little low down on what it’s like to go to a blogging event if you’ve never been before. Until yesterday, I too, was a Blog Event virgin! My cherry has well and truly been popped now, thanks to Blog On Cymru.

CAKE

Last week I was having a quick nosy down my the feed of my Twitter list “blogger friends” ...the list where I’ve hand-picked the funniest / loveliest of my blogger buddies (come on, we ALL do that, right?!) and noticed that some people were talking about an event called Blog On Cymru. Being a Welshie resident of Wales’s resplendent capital....I wondered why I hadn’t heard of this event and needed more info STAT! SO it turned out...it was the following weekend ...there was a spare ticket going and suddenly I was on a (virtual) train to Blogsville Central! Woohoo!

To say I was nervous was an understatement. It was quite an impulsive thing to do and I didn’t know anyone who was going. I’ve never been to a blogging event before even though my blog is 3 years old. For the last 2 years I’ve wanted to attend what seems to the Mecca of all parent bloggers: “Britmums Live” but I’ve either been up the duff or in charge of a very small person.

Not only did I not know anyone, I didn’t really know how the day would run. I knew there was a schedule of sessions but what would the format be? Were they talks where we just listen in silence or like seminars where we’re asked for feedback? What would the in between bits be like? Would I be stood around like a Billy-no-mates being all shy and embarrassed and feeling like a loser?! What would lunch be like? Was it all going to be awful and super awks and cringe?

Of course it wasn’t.

It one of the best days I’ve had in a long, long time organised by lovely, friendly girls who all made a massive effort to make the day relaxed, informal and most importantly fun.

Even so, if you are thinking of popping your own Blog Event cherry (because obviously after one event, I am a seasoned PRO now!) my tips for making you feel less awks at an event like this are:

Engage socially beforehand…. If there are Twitter lists and/or Facebook groups…join both and mingle online. I think it helped that lots of people were feeling the same way beforehand, even some who knew other people going. Also people in the Facebook group changed profile pics to their faces instead of kids or pets or funny quotes!

Start chatting to anyone about anything….even something innocuous like how to fill in your name badge (I just put my online name…forgot my blog name completely! Lots of people will recognise you more from your blog name.) This way, you’ve broken the ice and are talking. Most people just want someone else to do the work.  

Chat to people who are sitting / standing alone. They will be in the same position as you and more likely to want to chat. People in groups I think generally feel safer (i.e. more comfortable) and are less likely to feel the need to mingle so much. I am actually glad I went alone because it forced me to chat to people I wouldn’t necessarily have met otherwise.

If there are any competitions, enter those, buy raffle tickets / do the tombola (is there always a tombola at a Blog events?! Random!) It’s easy to start chatting to people about the lovely prizes on offer ….like a gorgeous mustard yellow Boden shopper!


Isn't it pretty?!

Take advantage of the refreshments! If no one is doing much talking, at least you have something to do whilst you wait for the event to kick off...stuff your face with all the free cakes…yum!

Once the session starts check your Twitter feed especially the hashtag of the event you are in. This was surprising to me…. either I was surrounded by super rude dudes (I wasn’t) or it’s the new thing….live tweeting / commenting on the event as it happens! It probably makes me super sad to admit this but I found this one of the funnest parts of the day….

After you’ve established some contact, realised that this blog event malarkey is actually quite fun and not an exercise in excruciating awkwardness, you could find out if anyone is going to other events and when / what those events are.

Finally, after the event, follow up with any friends you’ve made via social media and keep the connection going….I found it a great way to meet some truly brilliant people.

Ok this last tip is SO ridiculously obvious that I’m almost embarrassed that I wrote it.

But did you find any of the other tips helpful? Will you be going to any events as a newbie this year? Would you add anything if you are a real seasoned pro?

Let me know thoughts either on here or Twitter. 

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