Ever since my amazing readers banded together to send me to BlogWorld in Las Vegas I’ve been far too busy to think about what I’m going to do when I actually get there.
My main reason for going to BlogWorld is to meet people, talk to them and find out what their story is. That’s what I do when I go anywhere. I like people, and I’m ever-curious about their stories and the inner workings of the human psyche, so it comes naturally.
Bearded social media hero and Trust Agents author Chris Brogan recently wrote about BlogWorld networking. No one seems to know if Chris Brogan is actually going to BlogWorld this year. Maybe he isn’t even sure himself, but if he is I’m going to seek him out. His blog post, 9 Ways to Rock Blog World Expo, is a great round up of how to network successfully (prepare, be polite, be friendly) and what not to do when networking (get drunk and hungover).
Darren Rowse, my favourite Problogger, has also written about BlogWorld networking with some excellent tips.
The trouble is that the very sound of networking leaves me cold. Networking transforms three fun-filled days cruising round Las Vegas checking people out into three long days of stress and boredom. Those two words – net and work – conjure up the kind of tedious snare I’ve been avoiding all my life.
Plus the whole concept of networking assumes everyone has a reason for wanting to meet people. Where we used to meet people because it’s fun, now we’re told we should meet them because it might work to our advantage. Which also implies other people only want to meet you for a reason, and that they’ll drop you like a hot potato if you don’t have much to offer them. Ouch.
So what should be fun-filled is starting to fill me with fear.
Then someone asked me what my BlogWorld strategy is and I started to feel really ill.
Networking Without the Work
Strategy? Oh dear. I don’t have one. I do have an agenda though, in order of most to least important:
1. Meet people – the more the merrier, but not so many that I can’t remember who they all are at the end of it. I’d prefer to talk to fewer people in more depth.
2. Have fun – I’ve discovered the meaning of life and it’s having fun. I try to make sure I do so whenever I can. I’ve experienced depression and I’m not going back there again.
3. Tell people about why I love blogging and my soon-to-be-released book Successful Blogging in 12 Simple Steps – but only if it might interest them. I’d love to connect with people who might want to become affiliates for the book and help other people to experience the joys of blogging.
There’s plenty of good networking advice out there and Chris Brogan’s post attracted some useful comments. Here are selected excerpts:
“There will be more than one photowalk during the event. This is a great way to meet other bloggers in a fun and informal way.”
Ben Spark, Ben Spark.com
“Wear comfortable shoes.”
Lucretia M. Pruitt, The Social Joint
“You only have to meet one or two people and they will introduce you to people and do the work for you.”
Scott Lockhart, Regator
“I always need a week or two to decompress after spending so much time being “on” at conferences.”
Scrappin’ Michele, Scraps of My Geek Life
“Find some people who you have no clue who they are and what they do and chat them up.”
Deb Ng, Kommein
“Up-and-comers are the folks to meet.”
Sheila Scarborough, Sheila’s Guide to the Good Stuff
“Everything happens in the hallways.”
Tinu Abayomi-Paul, Free Traffic Tips
“I have several contacts there already. I’ll try not to stick to them and spread my wings a bit, while applying these tips!”
Benny the Language Hacker, Fluent in 3 Months
“Have a nice dinner with a small group. Large groups have a problem deciding where to go if there’s no leader, and they end up at the same kind of chain restaurant that you could go to in your home town.”
Steve Garfield, Steve Garfield.com
BlogWorld Networking in a Nutshell
On the plus side I’ve got new business cards for BlogWorld and a shed load of gorgeous bloggers I’d like to meet.
On the down side I have an eight hour time difference to cope with, no idea what a photowalk is and new shoes that might not be comfortable after I’ve been wearing them all day. Sorry Lucretia, but you’re a woman, you’ll understand that I simply had to get some new shoes for BlogWorld 2010 no matter how uncomfy they may be or how good your advice is.
But there’s only so much planning and preparing you can do for any networking event. I’ve done a lot of preparation already, most notably 18 months of blogging and tweeting, but I like to be spontaneous. You never know what’s going to come up until you actually get there.
These are my networking tips in 13 lucky words: Smile, don’t try to meet too many people, stay cool and look hot!
Have you got any more BlogWorld networking or general networking tips?