I am a complete educational junkie. I love learning about new things, especially subjects which fuel my passions. So when the opportunity arose for me to attend the "Build Your Blog Conference" in Salt Lake City, I was all over it like butter on toast because I'm all about blogging.
Being the nerd that I am, I registered six months in advance excitedly anticipating the day when I would get to soak in the knowledge of other bloggers.
As I prepared to drive up to Salt Lake this weekend for the conference, I noticed how similarly I felt to the first day of High School. I still remember very vividly my high school experience. I'm either
scarred by it or have so many fond memories of it that it sticks in my
mind (and honestly it's a little bit of both). Throughout the remainder of the conference, I made a few other observations about how much I felt like a brand new student in high school.
Why a Blogging Conference Is Just Like Going Back to High School
1. You'll wonder if you'll ever fit in.
I'll admit, I was nervous as I made the drive to the hotel. I wondered if I was dressed appropriately, if I had the right bag or notebook, or if I would make friends. It's a little scary to go somewhere by yourself hoping to make new friends and hoping that people will accept you and allow you in their group. It's no different when you go to a conference. You feel nervous, you feel worried, and you definitely feel a little outside of your comfort zone.
But just like high school and after a bit of trial and error, you'll find the group that works for you. So whether you're an over-the-top diva, who talks loudly and gestures wildly or whether you're more of a shy, introvert that hides in the background, you WILL find a group that fits your personality. Make the effort to introduce yourself. I met several lovely women who were warm, kind, and happy to share knowledge and information.
2. You'll be taking lots of notes.
Take a notebook. Take your ipad. Take your phone. And take your camera. If you find a conference that fits your learning style, you'll find your brain on overload taking in all the hints, tips, tricks, and insider secrets. One presenter compared it to drinking from a fire hose. It's overwhelming; and if you don't take notes, then you won't be able to recall all the little things that you learned. So whether you take hand written notes, type up a few things on your tablet, or photograph the Powerpoint screen, make sure you record what stands out in the moment. Then at your leisure, you can browse through your notes and make the changes you felt impressed to make during the sessions.
While you won't be taking a test for each class, you WILL want to remember what you learned.
3. You'll make new friends.
It's really ok to go alone. Thankfully I ran into an old friend and we were able to reconnect during the conference. But I found in every session and at every break, there were plenty of women willing and hoping to chat and meet new friends too. Several groups attended, but there were also many, many women who came on their own. Be brave enough to step out of your comfort zone and do something even if it's on your own. Attend the classes that appeal to you. Don't worry if you don't know anyone else. These conferences are as much about networking as they are about learning, and if you're not meeting new people then you're kind of missing the point.
4. Welcome to the Lunch Room.
Down times, lunches, dinners, and breaks are the perfect opportunity to network, ask other bloggers questions, and meet new people. On one of the days, the event fed us lunch in boxes. As we opened them, we discovered that each of us had a different fruit option or set of chips. The negotiating commenced as we traded for the items we really wanted. While this was not directly related to the event, these are the moments in which you truly get to know another person's personality. You laugh, you joke, and your walls come down. While I did eat dinner on my own the first night, I also enjoyed eating with other bloggers and talking more about our personal lives, our blogs, and more of who we really are.
5. You'll Get as Much Out of It, as You Put into It.
the end of the conference, I felt both elated and exhausted. Two days is a short time to take in the expertise of social media, publishing, traditional media professionals. Much like a traditional high school graduation, you'll feel relieved when it's over but you'll also feel sad that it has come to an end. If you're willing to network, ask questions, put yourself out there, you're going to get a lot out of a conference like this. And even if not every class appealed to you or was a good fit, if you're determined to learn, you'll find at least one or two little nuggets of wisdom from every single interaction and that makes it all worth it!
What did I learn at this conference?
I learned how to make Pinterest work better for me. I learned some new things I could try on Youtube to provide interesting content and build subscribers. I learned not to ignore the opportunity to help another person. I learned that while being an expert can open the door, being nice can kick it all the way open. I learned that the right question can give you more information than you ever hoped to glean. And that old friends are always the best.
If you're just getting started blogging, or are in the newer stages of some of your social media platforms, then I highly suggest this conference. The Six Sisters are sweet girls who generously share what has worked for them and have brought together an amazing array of speakers, presenters, and giveaways.
It was an amazing experience, and I'm glad I took the opportunity to go! You can learn more about the conference I attended HERE.