Way back before the summer started I attended my first ever travel blogging event which was run by Traverse events. I wrote a post about What I learnt at my first Travel Conference but thought it would be useful to offer some practical advice for anyone attending their first event. I’m going to my second Traverse event tomorrow, it’s called Borderless Live and again it looks like it is going to be an amazing couple of days in London.
If you were interested in hearing more about Traverse events or even interested in possibly attending Borderless this weekend, then click here to hear more about their events.
Attending any event, can be a little off-putting if you’re not sure what to expect so I remember searching for blog posts about the events before I attend just so I can prepare. I’ve picked up on a few things that everyone does without really thinking much about it, and if you’re attending any events, they might be useful to you!
Trust me, it’s easier then repeating your blog name over and over, and also if you have a different name to your twitter account etc, if it’s all in one place someone can look you up very easily. Whether you’re giving them out to brands or other bloggers, it’s nice to give them a card. I’m always of the opinion to have one where they can recognise you, instead of just a brand or blog name, if they’re flicking through a stack of cards I’d want to think that if there is a picture of my head there, they’ll remember talking to me. I’d also make sure they’re in keeping with your branding, whether that be certain brand colours or recycled paper that is up to you! Also always get more than you think you’re going to need as you don’t want to run out because you can guarantee as soon as you run out, you’ll meet someone who you really want to give your information to.
Forget stranger danger, conferences are all about chatting to absolutely anyone and everyone. I’m still not the kind of person who can walk up to a group of people with confidence and join in a conversation, but I got to the stage at the end of the conference where I recognised a few familiar faces and could chat away before starting to mingle. I found that by chatting to people one on one, I became good friends with a few people who then introduced me to more people and got to know people that way.
There is nothing more off putting as someone attending a conference not knowing anyone then seeing someone who looks miserable. I’m the worst at this as I often seem to stare off into the distance or have resting bitch face but honestly, it’s because my mind wanders and not because I’m actually being moody. I think it’s so much easier to go over and chat to someone who looks genuinely happy and smiley, you just want to be around that positive energy so much more.
I think this is important for any conference you are attending. You’ve probably spent money on a ticket so it’s important to do your research to make sure you get the most out of it. You need to know what talks you want to attend, what brands you want to chat to, what their values are, etc. There are so many things you can find out by having a look at websites, twitter and instagram but equally, I think it’s also important not to write anyone off based on your research. I think you need a good mixture of being open and also knowing what you want to get out of the conference. If you want to go to just attend every talk about SEO and not open up to the possibility of attending a talk about something you haven’t really thought about, then that’s ok but you have to realise that these speakers and events have been chosen because of their level of expertise. If you research the schedule and have a rough plan of what you want to do, I think that’s a good idea but also this leads me on to my next point which is..
You might suddenly be attending an extra event, chatting away to someone and miss the start of the next talk, invited to another bar and find yourself five drinks later wondering where your evening went, either way, you have to be flexible and make the most of the time you have. Conferences are great, there are so many people to meet, places to see and things you want to do. If you’re prepared to make some changes in your plans, it’ll all work out and if there’s something you really wanted to see but wasn’t able to, get in touch with the organisers or see if a friend is willing to share their notes with you if you know they went.
There is no point going if you don’t take part. Talk to people, engage with what is happening, attend the events and honestly you’ll have the best time. It’s scary to see so many people who already know each other but you’re not going to get to know them if you don’t chat to them or take part. I think you get out of a conference, what you put in. Networking sounds like a horrible word as if you’re only talking to people to get something out of them but it genuinely isn’t the case. People network to get to know each other, make friends who are in a similar industry, and have a look at potential opportunities. You don’t have to view it as a business networking, you can simply attend take part and just chat to meet some new people.
Speaking from my experience in Trentino for Traverse, it went way too quickly! The actual conference itself was two days and all the events and experiences started a few days before. It felt like a whirlwind of new faces, learning new things and a lot of fun nights out. I loved my time in Trentino which is why I’ve booked to attend Borderless Live.
After a summer in America, I’m excited to spend some time at my laptop, finally kicking things up a notch with my blog and Borderless Live seems like the perfect event to help motivate me!
I post once a week covering topics such as solo travel, working and living abroad and also creating Gabriella’s Guides to places I have been. I cover topics under the following categories such as Planning and Packing, The Travel Diary, Travel Inspiration, Photo Diaries, Gabriella’s Guides and Working Abroad.