Nearly 500 bloggers together in one hotel, with one of the major purposes being to meet each other? For an introvert like me, that can mean more than a little anxiety. Unlike the trade shows (CHA and SURTEX) that I usually attend which afford a certain amount of anonymity in the aisles, a blogging event like SNAP! Conference is a completely different experience. But as I look back, there are several things I did to make meeting so many people a little easier.
Here are my tips for ditching the anxiety and enjoying SNAP! as an introvert:
Start “meeting” other bloggers in advance. Join the SNAP Conference Facebook group and participate in the discussions. Follow attendees on social media. My Instagram was filled with posts using #snapdaily for the month before, and it was a great way to connect people with their blogs in person.
#snapdaily “flashback” Instagram prompt
Arrive early, if possible. Checking in the evening before SNAP! began turned out to be one of the best choices I made. There were plenty of other bloggers there already, many hanging out in the lobby alone or in smaller groups. Several of our smaller groups joined together and went to dinner. It was a great way to meet people, with no business-type stress. Plus, I avoided the morning hotel check in crowd.
Dinner at Bayou pre-conference.
Ask for and hand out cards. After all, that’s one of the reasons you are at SNAP! Step outside your comfort zone to ask people for their business cards, and offer one of yours in return. No waiting for them to ask first, since it’s easy to be distracted by a class starting, another person joining the conversation, or a host of other reasons. Some people have a small giveaway with their cards, others don’t. I found my little handmade magnet to be a good conversation starter, but I’d say only about 20% or so of people had something extra.
My biz card and handmade magnet with my art.
Start a conversation before classes. Use the time before classes begin to meet the person sitting next to you. You can meet some really cool people that way, without the pressure of a large group. Plus, those one-on-one or small group conversations can often be more in depth than just a hallway “hello”.
Join in the bigger events. Attend meals, watch the speakers, and go to the parties. This can be a harder one for an introvert, since the thought of a big room filled with all the attendees can feel more intimidating. Since the room is set up with tables that seat 8 or so, each table is really it’s own small group. Find a familiar face from earlier to sit with, or just an open spot.The Duck Tape corsage I made for 80s prom.
Be a little goofy. SNAP! is a place where there is a lot of opportunity for being a little silly and having some fun. We had an 80s themed pj party and a prom, and many sponsors had photo opportunities in their booths. And I’ve never seen so many selfies in one place. Elevator selfies, bathroom selfies, and dinner selfies were all part of the fun. Everyone else is being a little goofy too, so don’t be afraid to show the real you, whoever you are.
Take an “introvert break”. Go back to your room and drop off bulky things, get a snack with a friend, or step outside and enjoy the breathtaking view for a few minutes. Sometimes you just need a break from the crowds to recharge a bit and gear up for one of the bigger events.
Fabulous Salt Lake view.
Relax and enjoy. I know, easier said than done for us introverts. But stressing about what to wear, what to bring, and how many people were going to be there did me no favors. Wear whatever you feel comfortable and confident in, whether it’s jeans or a dress, tennies or spike heels. You’ll need a tote bag of some sort, a stash of biz cards, and a smile. Everything else is just a bonus.
If you’re thinking of attending SNAP! Conference, stop thinking and press that button. By the end of the 3 days, I felt like I was among old friends, energized instead of exhausted. I hope my tips can help you prepare for next year. I’ll see you there!
Thanks for stopping by!
Until next time…