Wow — I’m tired! BlogHer12 was a great conference but I’m pooped and I didn’t even have to travel very far. I went from my apartment in the East Village to Midtown — basically the commute I do everyday to get to work.
But participating in a conference is exhausting — both mentally and physically. You are up early, walking around, chatting, exchanging business cards and ideas, taking notes in enrichment sessions and celebrating with all of the new friends you’ve made. Conferences can be made even worse if the venue is undesirable, so if you are ever involved in the organizing of a conference, you might want to have a look at a venue like Cotswold Conference Centre instead of some of the awful venues I’ve been seeing.
Of course, I have a list to make it a bit easier the next time you are attending a conference too:
1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare: I started really planning out my itinerary for BlogHer12 about two months beforehand. The agenda had been posted and I read through it a few times to see what sessions I would benefit from most. I chatted with other bloggers who had been to other BlogHer conferences for their take on sessions, parties and networking so I could optimize my time. I wrote out a list of all the things I wanted to accomplish while there.
2. Bring a Sharpie: I got this advice from Tanya Toledano who writes MontrealMom.com. It is brilliant. Bring a super-fine point Sharpie with you so you can make notes on business cards as you get them. It’s the nature of a conference — you are going to get a lot of cards and you’re not going to remember the people who gave them to you. Write notes on the card as soon as you get it like: “blond hair, glasses, lives in Arizona, possible guest blogger.” This is a huge help.
3. Use Evernote: What an incredible tool. I used this the entire weekend for taking notes. You can include audio, photos and PDFs along with your notes and access them from any device. It makes note taking and life so much easier. I also kept my entire itinerary saved here so I could get to it anywhere.
4. Make a Follow-Up List: While I was at the conference I had my iPad with me and as I met people or got an idea from a session — I added to my follow-up list. So now, this week I know exactly who I have to get back in touch with and what we need to talk about. The more time you let this linger — the less likely you are to make effective relationships and partnerships. Having a call to action list makes it much more possible.
5. Don’t Over Schedule: I totally bit off more than I could chew with this conference. I RSVP’ed for a lot of extra gatherings and parties that I just never made it to. Frankly I was too exhausted! Make sure that you schedule in time to recoup and relax — trust me, you’ll need it!
6. Bring Snacks: Luckily, there were a lot food samples at this conference (my favorite was the Muller corners, which are just making their way from the UK.) But I did dip into my supply of healthy snacks. I brought almonds, fruit bars and clementines. It’s always a good idea because you just never know when you’ll get hungry and be stuck in a meeting or session with your stomach growling!
(PS — for those of you who voted for me in the BlogLuxe Awards thank you again! I didn’t win — but some other awesome blogs did. Take a few minutes to check them out!