When I heard #BlogHer16 would be held minutes down the road from me I was excited, but immediately shut down once I realized I would be heading there alone. I don’t mention this often in my blog, but I suffer greatly from social anxiety. I’m one of those people that can’t even bring myself to call the pizza place to order. It’s a work in progress.
I decided that I’d skip the three-day women’s blogging conference because, after all, who could have fun by themselves?
The days drew closer and closer to the conference and the buzz grew too, until I simply couldn’t take it anymore: I bought the full conference pass and expedited a box of business cards for networking.
I got ready to go to the first night of events — a Wine and Gyn chat which wound up centering a great deal around topics that made me feel like I got lost in a porn convention. Jokes aside, the chat was really informative and a fabulous ice breaker, even if I did wind up leaving wondering why they didn’t put an extra bottle of wine on the table for all those wiggling uncomfortably in their seats. With a couple giggles still left in my system, I decided to make this #BlogHer16 expo my b*tch and here’s what I discovered along the way.
Snag the Best Seats
While everyone in groups of multiple women try to spot a table big enough for everyone, I got to snag the lone seat at some of the best tables. I’ve always had this thing about needing to see the actual eyes of the presenter or performer in front of me in order to really connect, so this was key for me. It also helped me to sneak up front to grab some up-close shots like these.
No Scheduling Conflicts
If I planned on heading to one event and got sidelined by something else that caught my eye along the way, I didn’t have to explain to anyone or bite my tongue to follow the crowd. My time was dictated only by me. I didn’t think in my wildest dreams that I would be able to catch the Freddie Prinze Jr. signing that I was dying to go to, but when I saw cookbooks were still available I jumped at the chance and had fun networking in line.
*Sidenote: BlogHer absolutely ROCKS at efficiency. Anyone who got a ticket from the woman at the end of the line was guaranteed a cookbook, autograph, and photo. That way you weren’t waiting for nothing! This was one of many examples of how organized the event was.
Better Networking with Brands
Just my opinion, but it’s hard to stand out to brands in the expo hall when you’re surrounded by other women pitching their blogs. It was helpful to me to be a lone wolf so I had the spotlight and could really give a solid pitch. I’ve received about a dozen emails so far from those I’ve spoken to, so I’d consider my networking attempts a success! Whether or not being alone had anything to do with it is pure speculation.
It Forced Me to Be Outgoing
If I went with a friend, chances are I would be totally engrossed in conversation with them the whole weekend and have not met a single blogger outside of my scope. Walking the halls alone heightened my ability to observe those around me and jump into friendly conversations. I spoke with an adorable Australian who told me of how she has been eyeballing different ring styles in hopes of an impending engagement, a powerful redhead who pointed me to the best school districts in my area, and even clinked glasses with a fellow martini drinker while we talked shop.
The connections I made at BlogHer were priceless and authentic, both on the business and friendship side. I can’t say that I’ll always go alone, but I’ll never be afraid to venture out independently again.