Thursday, June 30, 2011

Even a part time blogger can take a lot away from a blog conference

I just got back from my previously mentioned conference. The range of emotions I felt before during and on the ride home ran the gambit. I had so many things buzzing in my head when the conference ended I needed a major brain dump just to focus. Instead I went to sleep. Brain dump later.

As you might remember I was a little scared about attending my first blogging conference. I'd been to other more “corporate” traditional conference so this was a new thing and I got the feeling it wouldn't be the same. I was right. It wasn't the same but I learned that’s not a bad thing. There was good, great and not so good. Conferences are never all sunshine and roses but most conference posts I read are about the good and great. So I decided to come up with a list of things I learned to do for my next conference.

Ride with others if you can
I rode to Asheville with MelFadra and Andrea. I'd never met Fadra till I got in the car. She looks exactly like I expected. She interviewed us as part of her Social dialect post. It was a pretty fun drive that went very fast, which is easy when you alternate talking and tweeting.

Pick your roommates wisely if you have choices
I found my roommate on twitter. I had never met her till she knocked on the door at the hotel. It just so happened she was working the conference instead of attending. She owns Elegant Event Sitters. A business you know you need but usually don't know where to find.  If you can find a roomie working the show! While you are almost never in your room, you still have to share a bathroom. Tish was gone before I even got up. She got to use the bathroom uninterrupted and so did I. We both usually ended up in the room after 11 or much later.

Pack snacks and drinks but you will probably buy dinner
All the pre-conference blogs say this and damnit its true. You will find you are thirsty and there's nothing but diet sierra mist. You will need a protein bar in the middle of the day because you were late for breakfast or you didn't like the lunch offerings. Food was provided for breakfast and lunch everyday. It was almost impossible to find soda after 11. Lunch varied and wasn't always to my liking so I am glad I packed a box of energy bars, 4 vitamin waters and 2 liter bottles of smart water. I came home with about half of that.

Speaking of dinner get your ass on twitter when you are hungry
I had prearranged dinner plans exactly one night. The rest of the nights either chatting with someone outside of the conference hall or when I got hungry I just tweeted if anyone wanted to grab dinner with the conference hash tag. I ate with different people every single night. Its a great way to meet some people you probably haven’t seen yet since with multiple sessions at once its possible to not see the same people.

Bring a book
Shockingly enough you will find a point when you are too damn tired to move (not not sleepy) or just not feeling the parties or the sessions at that time. For me there was a block where none of the offerings worked for me. Your odds of finding someone else aren't that great so you will probably head up to your room till the next thing starts. I read one day, the others I spent in the Dodge relaxation room getting a massage.

Learn where the outlets are
I read the blogs and I knew bring a extension cord and a power strip. That’s all find and good unless you are all the way on the other side of the room nowhere remotely close. Poor planning on my part day one. Better on day 2.

Listen when people say you will get swag
I have so much in my house. Between the food I ate and drink leaving room I still had way too much stuff to bring home. Add to the fact that Asheville is a great place to buy stuff. I think I will look into shipping costs if I go to a conference I need to fly to, compare it to baggage fees before going. I got some really cool and useful stuff, I even bought my daughter a pair of earrings  but she'll probably like the game i got from the Ubisoft party. 

Go thru the business cards you get at the end of the day
I have always been one of those people who writes on business cards. Most people in the business world still do its just status quo. Every night I would empty all my pockets of the cards i'd grabbed and make notes on the back (or front of the back) wherever was clean or workable. What i've been doing my entire working career is notes about what they look like and what we talked about. Also if anything jumps out to me about them, like taller than me this is important for a woman's card as i'm 5”8” and there are few woman that I meet in that category, or i'll put, engaged, divorced, likes Billy Joel something that really jumped out to me when I met them. I have written on a card “made her cry”  instantly upon looking at the card remembered exactly who she was when I saw her card when I got home. If I would have waited till I got home 4 days later those cards from day one would be really vague to me.

Have some downtime when you get home
C1 went to visit her grandparents the day before i left. She will be home later this week. I came home from Type A to a empty house and i'm pretty glad about that. There were things i wanted to get done while she was away that i didn't finish before i left and I was very drained when i got back from Asheville. The last thing i wanted to do with cook several meals and listen to pokemon blurbs for the next 7 hours. I know that for some people at Type A this was their 1st time away from their kids, for others they didn't even leave them, and a few like me this trip is just a normal blip in our child free moments. Having that away time really helps. coming home without them there helps you get shit done. 

I took so much in from the conference and i'm still going over the notes i took over the days so i can make improvements here. I learned so much practical, simple to implement, and detailed information over these days. I think i may have to do another conference if ic an made my daughter's school work

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