I must confess, I’m just back from a whirlwind trip to Melbourne that involved me whirling around like a mad woman loaded up on caffeine and creating a lot of hot wind on very little sleep. Following a calamity of errors, all possibly related to lack of sleep, I’m sharing my top networking tips for bloggers and introverts.
In the end, I ended up going 40ish hours without sleep. True story. I now know my ability to sleep on planes is near impossible and my ability to function on no sleep diminishes around the 36 hour mark. Something I will need to factor in for any future whirlwind adventures.
When I finally managed to hit the pillow, I hit it hard. I may have invented a new game in the process… 40 hour Blog-gammon. A mixture of the 40 hour famine and backgammon, just giving up sleep rather than food at a blogging event where there was very little strategy and a lot of luck involved to actually get me to this event in the first place.
The event was an all day affair for the Kidspot Voices 2015 breakfast and masterclass together with networking drinks and the announcement of their top 100 blogs for 2015 that evening.
Agent Mystery Case was nominated again this year, even though I blog outside their niche categories. I also don’t follow any set working with brands blogging formats which I believe automatically rules the blog out for any awards in the first place. As you can imagine there was no expectation on my part that I would make the top 100 and I honestly wasn’t attending this for the award side of things.
I also went with no expectation of the masterclass. While the tips and advice offered at this event were for the most point spot on, from my perspective (having to factor in the cost of flights etc.), there really wasn’t anything that hadn’t already been covered or isn’t readily available for free on the web if you go looking hard enough. The lineup of speakers was certainly impressive and it was interesting to hear about their blogging experiences.
At this point, you are probably wondering why I went so far out of my way and with so little sleep to attend. It’s these factors that probably impacted why I took so long to actually decide to pull this off. I only booked flights and made my decision to attend 48 hours out from the event.
You see, I’ve only recently returned from a blogging mystery tour of Melbourne and with hubby getting ready for his next trip to sea, I really couldn’t be spared by the family for more than the one day. There was also the cost factor involved. While the masterclass at just $25 was an absolute bargain for locals, I also needed to factor in flights from Perth. Even last-minute budget flights aren’t really budget friendly.
So why did I really go?
I should probably say networking but I can assure you I completely suck at this side of things. So I’m just going to be honest here… of the 100 plus bloggers in attendance, there were over 40 women attending that I’ve been connecting and collaborating with online these past three years and I wanted to actually meet them in person.
I’ve pretty much ruled out attending the ProBlogger main event this year on the Gold Coast. With hubby at sea and no one available to mind my three girls, it really is a case of mission impossible. The Kidspot Voices 2015 event was my next big chance to put so many gorgeous blogs to faces and touch base with some of my favourite bloggers.
Being an introvert (I know completely debatable for anyone that has met me and seen me in action), networking does not come easy to me but I’m also at a stage in my life where I want to make the most of my endeavours and I’ve always been one to make the most of an opportunity. This event gave me more than a few opportunities and another idea for a blogging reality game….
Networking Tip for Bloggers and Introverts
1. Arrive super early on no sleep and fill yourself full of coffee, while you are going about your introvert ways trying to not get in the road or disturb the organisers, you just might meet the emcee for the event who is keen to hear why you are super early and looking like something the cat dragged in.
You may just end up providing the perfect opening not only for the emcee’s speech but the opening brand speaker who has a miracle sleep mask to showcase and inadvertently throw yourself and your blog into the spotlight albeit briefly.
2. Lose your glasses and the ability to see anything more than 3 cm in front of you halfway through the event. Then go looking for the second last person on your long list of people you must see at this event before leaving.
In this case, it was Bec from Dancing through Sunday. Going on the snippet from her profile pic, I was looking for a young attractive brunette with sleek hair. Incidentally, this was a great way to meet every attractive brunette with sleek hair in the room (there were more than a few), together with everyone at their tables.
I should add here, squinting and going in for an almost bumping a person’s name card with your nose always makes for an interesting introduction.
3. Leave your phone charger at home. In order to save battery, it will mean turning your phone off at some point which means losing connection with your all-consuming parallel world aka social media. This will give you more time and opportunity to actually go and meet people.
4. Do your research. If possible try to find out who is attending that you already know in an online-only capacity and make an effort to meet every single one of them. It took me all day but I’m pretty sure I did eventually catch up with everyone that I’d already had dealings with or was following online. (My tips on what not to do in regards to this listed below.)
Photos or it didn’t happen?
I’m not one for photos but I would suggest that if you are having photos taken, get them out of the way early. Mind you early for me, involved an overnight flight and arriving at the event straight from the airport looking like a swollen puffer fish. I honestly don’t think there was a great time for photos with me but it was only due to the fact that these gorgeous girls made the event for me, that I agreed to eventually get in a photo…
Creating Contentment, A Quirky Bird, myself and Style on V
This was at the 36ish hours of no sleep mark (thanks Vicki from Style on V). Just after I’d had my little fainting turn, I’m pretty sure I’m clenching my teeth in an attempt to open my eyes and look more awake.
What not to do
If you go to the trouble of making a list of who is going and who you would like to catch up with, try not to leave that list at home with your phone charger and medications.
If you are making mental notes of who you have and haven’t already met, it might not be a good idea to rely on your mental notes around the 35 hours of no sleep mark. The talented and gorgeous Lucy from Bake Play Smile had the lovely pleasure of meeting me twice. Not even kidding.
If you are feeling like you are about to faint at the 36 hour mark, it’s probably a good time to remove yourself from the room before the blog nominations start. It’s probably not a great idea to leave the room just after the winners have been announced, especially if your name isn’t on the list.
To each and every blogger in the room that didn’t make it to the top 100. You deserve an award for just showing up to the event and for blogging each and every time. Blogging is a tough gig and no matter why you are in it, you all deserve a mention and an award if you ask me.
Try not to focus on who made the list or why you didn’t and just get on with blogging. Focus on the positives.
Above and Beyond Award:
This probably could and should go to me for actually making it to the event in the first place but that’s not my style.
This award goes to a non-blogger in the room (well, as far as I know, he doesn’t have a blog). This one goes to the waiter from Leonda by the Yarra that found me in a state and just knew something wasn’t right and it had nothing to do about not making the top 100. If I could have taken the blame for you dropping a glass soon after, I would have. I went looking for you before I left to ask your name and thank you but couldn’t find you.
Partners in Crime Award:
Why partners in crime and what exactly was the crime? That would be telling but I suppose being in close proximity to someone who was without sleep and full of caffeine would have been an experience in itself.
Emily Hawker come on down. I wasn’t in a position to take any notes or keep up with the social media sharing side of things at this event, both from the lack of sleep and the lack of a battery on my phone. Thanks to Emily Hawker, I really didn’t need to be. Watching Emily in live tweeting action was an experience in itself and I can now go back and relive the highlights in 140 characters or less.
Come as you are – Authenticity Award:
Emily from Have a Laugh on Me and Vanessa Rowse from Style and Shenanigans. While I didn’t get to spend nearly enough time with either of you, I was delighted to find your online personas matched your offline real selves.
Gorgeous Inside and Out Award:
Phoebe Montague aka Lady Melbourne, the first blogger I started following many years ago now and probably the main reason that starting a blog was on my wish list. Phoebe was so very gracious with her time after her masterclass session. I reviewed Phoebe’s first eBook when it was released and it was a real highlight to finally meet her in person.
Carly Findlay, who has been a huge inspiration to my blogging endeavours. I’m reminded that it’s not all about looking the part or ticking all the blogging must do boxes, it’s about arriving at the party in the first place and getting your story out there.
When I first saw that Carly was attending I actually made the assumption that she might have been speaking at the event. The fact that she wasn’t was probably my only disappointment of the day.
But wait there’s more…
There are a host of other gorgeous bloggers that I need to mention here because each and every person I met on Saturday left a huge impression on me but I’m at that point where I can hardly string a sentence together.
I will return soon with my next round of Worth Casing Blog Awards. No categories, no brand sponsors, no overnight fly in fly out trips. Just back to basics blogging, looking outside the niche. Rewarding and supporting bloggers, a lot like our new blogging initiative…
Are you are natural when it comes to networking?
Do you have any tips?
What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you at an event?
Can you sleep on planes?