BlogWorld networking

BlogWorld Expo Networking: Fun-Filled or Fearsome?

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.

Networking Fears

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

“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

BlogWorld 2010 Networking

Social Media Conference in Shanghai May 2010 - Can You Find Me?

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?

Author: Annabel Candy

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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

Linda ~ Journey Jottings October 1, 2010 at 4:23 pm

I’m with you on the spontaneity ~ Never know where it might take you, nor what opportunities will evolve from those moments of serendipity ;)

But I’m not so sure on the new shoes LOL
Don’t want the smile wiped off your face as your attention gets distracted by the pain in your toes ;)


Annabel Candy October 1, 2010 at 6:22 pm

Hi Linda, lol, I know the shoes are a worry. But the good news is I’m staying in the same hotel where the conference is being held so if my tootsies are feeling the pain I can always nip back to my room and put my birkies on:)


Sally, Snappy Sentences October 1, 2010 at 4:40 pm

Just be yourself Annabel, you’ll have a great time.

My networking tip: Wear something that’s an easy conversation starter. I’ve got a range of funky necklaces that I wear…obviously only works when meeting other women ;)


Annabel Candy October 1, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Hi Sally, ah, thank you:) Yes, I’ve noticed your necklaces. I’ve noticed all the men writing about networking say it doesn’t really matter what you wear…. I wish!


Sandra Lee October 1, 2010 at 5:13 pm

Annabel, You are so funny and have such a terrific spirit. That’s what makes you stand out from the crowd. I can’t think of any better advice than to relax and have fun. I really like your idea of staying in the present moment and be spontaneous.


Annabel Candy October 1, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Hi Sandra, thanks! Staying in the present is good and I’m quite divided. On one hand I feel like I should have planned meetings but then I worry I’ll be stuck to a time table. So at the moment I’m plan less – it’s a bit scary but hopefully it will turn out for the best.


Red Nomad OZ October 1, 2010 at 7:59 pm

Ha! Conferences where I didn’t know anyone AND wanted to ‘network’ were a cinch when I used to smoke. Especially in the non-smoker-friendly world of OZ where us smokers were relegated to the great outdoors … that made it SO easy to ‘network’ as you had a captive but smallish audience all with something in common! But now? I’m not sure what the differences between your strategy above and ‘networking’ actually are?? Can’t go wrong with them – but with the added reminder that people like talking about themselves!!

Have fun, and happy travels!!


Annabel Candy October 1, 2010 at 8:39 pm

Hi Red, I know the old smoking outside with the cool kids was a great way to bond. But no longer so cool! Ladies loos can be a good replacement and pleasant place for a quiet chat away from the crowds:)

Yes, great reminder to ask people about themselves. I think I do that though… I have to be careful it’s not like the Spanish inquisition I’m so nosy:)


Lakhyajyoti October 1, 2010 at 9:23 pm

This is my first visit in your blog. Like your design. Thanks for including some really great networking advice in your post.


Benny the Irish polyglot October 1, 2010 at 9:45 pm

I’ve decided to call it netplaying instead of networking :P
Can’t wait to meet everyone there!


Annabel Candy October 1, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Hi Benny, look forward to meeting you too. Netplaying sounds good but partying sounds better:) I keep telling all my friends I’m going to a “conference” (big wink) in Vegas. I think they get the picture. It’s going to be fun and when you’re a mum with three kids any time off from cooking, cleaning, shopping and laundering is a holiday. Can’t wait.


Benny the Irish polyglot October 1, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Cool! We’ll coordinate closer to the event and I’ll introduce you to the few people I know there. It will get the ball rolling for further netplaying and make the partying afterwards in the evenings even more fun :D

Annabel Candy October 2, 2010 at 8:50 am

Sounds great Benny. I have to be back in my hotel room by midnight though when I turn into a pumpkin:)

Miss Britt October 1, 2010 at 10:09 pm

I’m so glad to hear someone else gets nervous about networking! I get nervous at conferences where I know everyone – and I know NO ONE going to BlogWorld. Panic attack? Inevitable.


Annabel Candy October 1, 2010 at 10:25 pm

Hi Miss Britt, thanks for dropping in and leaving a comment. Well now you know me… kind of. We can have a mass panic attack early on, get it all over and done with then relax and enjoy ourselves for the rest of the time:)


BenSpark October 6, 2010 at 1:27 am

Miss Britt,

You know me :-) I’m the rude guy who tweeted about your tweetdeck sound being on. And then realize that you were sitting next to me and that you are in fact awesome! We also took that fun photo at ICEBAR with my Xshot. So, You’ll know at least one person.


Barbara October 2, 2010 at 1:32 am

You begged and borrowed to get there, and clearly it was meant to be, so be present in every moment. That’s the best way I know to savor an experience. Be open to every possibility… there’s a reason you’re going.
Safe journey!


Annabel Candy October 2, 2010 at 9:00 am

Hi Barbara, thank you! It’ll be a long journey but hopefully safe and I’m sure worth it all:)


JoAnna October 2, 2010 at 1:38 am

My tip is just to let it happen. Though you can work to forge relationships, genuine connections happen organically.

Have fun! I’m so excited that you have the opportunity to attend BlogWorld!


Annabel Candy October 2, 2010 at 8:59 am

Hi JoAnna, thank you! I think that’s true. You never know who you’ll click with until you get there:) It’s part of the fun!


Jendi October 2, 2010 at 2:42 am

I’m half scared and half excited whenever I think of BlogWorld. I’m planning to crash a photo walk and use my VIDEO camera. sshh – don’t tell.

I will be wearing comfortable shoes too – I’m just radical like that – even though I am a woman. :)


Annabel Candy October 2, 2010 at 8:51 am

Hi Jendi, oooh, crashing the photowalk sounds fun:) Comfy shoes though… yes, that is radical. My new ones are in the post so they may never materialise at all in which case it’s Birkenstocks all the way!


Katie October 2, 2010 at 2:44 am

Awesome perspective, Annabel. I’m stealing it. Tip to me: meet Annabel and have some fun.


Annabel Candy October 2, 2010 at 8:52 am

Hi Katie, you’ll be there?! Brilliant. Ooooh, I’m even more excited now:)


Srinivas Rao October 2, 2010 at 3:58 am

I’m excited about two things

1) Meeting people I’ve interviewed and connected with Online in Person: this is going to be super cool. It’s funny because we’ve spent so much time together in a virtual environment over the last year and now we’ll get to meet in person. I think the creativity and things that result from this are going to be amazing,

2) Discovering new people: I think everybody has an interesting story and that’s going to be the most interesting part. There’s probably thousands of blogs that are awesome that are not on the radar of any of us who know each other, which will be a blast.

My guess is alot of content will be produced and we’ll be having a blast.


Annabel Candy October 2, 2010 at 8:54 am

Hi Sri, it is so exciting to meet people in the flesh!


Lucretia Pruitt October 2, 2010 at 4:10 am

Ha! Well you know what? Wear cute shoes! But throw some Crocs Malindis in your laptop bag or purse for when you need them! :)

In case it hasn’t come across in your experiences with me yet? I’m the kind of person who has been known to just *sit down on the floor* in the middle of the hall if it’s going to keep the conversation going but my feet or back just can’t take it anymore.

Last year, I sat down in the lobby of the convention center at the top of the escalators (we’re not there this year, I have to relearn my navigation!) because there were too many people I wanted to talk to RIGHT THERE and I wasn’t going to pass up that opportunity.
Apparently, it kind of became a ‘sit in’ without a campfire as we had a good 40 people there at one point when Rick Calvert (BlogWorld’s founder CEO) came by and looked at me and said “why am I not surprised?” :)

Don’t think of it as networking – because that’s such a different experience. Networking always seems to be about giving people cards and saying “call me!” before moving to the next one. This is more like finally getting to share oxygen with people you’ve connected with online… and finding new people who you will wonder how you hadn’t already connected with.

There are a few folks who trek a long ways for this one – you mentioned Darren (he is amazing in his ability to be completely upside-down schedulewise and still be brilliant and creative) and there’s Ewan Spence who comes from Scotland (trust me, you’ll find him, he’s the guy in the kilt) and so many others! If you’re totally upside down schedulewise? Ping me. I’m a night person and so I’ll happily go hang out in the lobby or nearest coffee shop with you. I just don’t really sleep at conferences.

Tell you what – you wear the cute shoes – I’ll wear my comfy ones – but either way? Let’s sit down and get some conversation in there somewhere!


Annabel Candy October 2, 2010 at 8:42 am

Lol, Lucretia, thanks so much for coming by and the brilliant comment. Oh, I like the sound of a sit in. I need to have a nice cuppa tea too. I’ll DM you if I get lost to see where you’re at. I agree, it’s all about meeting people and actually talking – I am so over all this typing!

I’m very jealous to hear you don’t sleep! I need it and will be trying to squeeze some in but wishing I didn’t have to:) Sounds as if I should just hang around with you to see how it’s done!

Only 13 sleeps to go! So excited to meet you:)


Penelope J. October 2, 2010 at 4:13 am

Hi Anabel,
I’ve never been to something like BlogWorld but I have gone to several large writers conferences. I may go in hesitantly but my whole persona changes, and I’m invigorated, ready to take on the world and I do – always with good results. So I’m certain this will be the case with you, as you strike me as being the outgoing, friendly type who will enjoy networking. Also, you may be in for a big surprise and you find that a lot of important bloggers are as interested in meeting you as you are in meeting them. And btw, sometimes those new shoes work out well but just in case, take a pair of good old standbys. Anyway, you want people to look at your face, not at your feet.


Annabel Candy October 2, 2010 at 8:56 am

Hi Penelope, I think we do have to undergo a slight personality change. I barely talk to anyone most days and suddenly I’ll be meeting 1000s of people. I can’t wait. The shoes, the shoes… I’ll be taking too many pairs with me and probably end up wearing the same ones all the time. Yes, the comfy ones:)


Dave Doolin October 2, 2010 at 5:27 am

Have fun!

I’m off to Silicon Valley Code Camp that weekend. Might take in the Chinese Revolution celebrations on Sunday (10/10/10). Should be a blast!


Annabel Candy October 2, 2010 at 8:57 am

Thanks D, can’t wait to hear what goes on at code camp!


Connie October 2, 2010 at 6:03 am

It’s going to be hot and dry outside and air conditioned cold inside – dress accordingly. And try to go to a Cirque show if you can – the Beatles one or sex one would be my first choices. The blogger networking thing will be easy for you.


Annabel Candy October 2, 2010 at 8:58 am

Hi Connie, yes, when I think of the USA I always think of over-air-conditioning! The networking will be fun. I don’t know if I’ll catch a show though, but I can try:)


Peter Abatan October 2, 2010 at 8:59 am

Well Annabel what can I say? You have the personality that attracts people to you. I am certain that people will come looking for you, I am also certain that you will have wonderful stories to tell when you get back.

Have a great time


Annabel Candy October 2, 2010 at 10:56 am

Hi Peter, thank you!!


Farnoosh October 2, 2010 at 10:42 am

Annabel, hello from Bali!! You simply cannot leave Blogworld without meeting moi! :) You have far more strategy and planning built into Blogworld than me. I have been traveling like crazy and I’ll have 10 days at home after being gone weekends and the last 3 weeks before getting ready and all I have done is order Mini Moo business cards! :) Thank you for these excellent tips, Annabel and so very happy you are going to Blogworld. Shall I just look for you or shall we set up a place/time to meet/ Anything that’s easiest….!!


Annabel Candy October 2, 2010 at 10:55 am

Hi Farnoosh, we will organise a place to meet:) Somehow! I am semi-organised but I thrive on leaving things until the last minute and pancking at the end. It’s all part of the process:) Can’t wait to meet you.


Ian Aspin October 2, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Loving the friendliness, good vibrations, and sense of community that are growing around this blog.

Loadza very valuable practical help and inspiration too.

It’s fab! Thank you Annabel.

All the best for Blog World (nearest I’ll get this weekend is a visit to Bog World looking for a new toilet seat!).

Much love,



Annabel Candy October 3, 2010 at 10:04 am

Hi Ian, lol, oh dear, good luck in bog world!


Tess The Bold Life October 3, 2010 at 6:06 am

Hi Annabel,
This may sound cheesy but what the hell. How about wearing a t-shirt with your logo on the front and the names of your sponsors on the back? This gives others an opportunity to walk up to you.


Annabel Candy October 3, 2010 at 10:05 am

Hi Tess, thank you – great minds think alike. I have some ordered! But not sure if they will arrive in time:) It is a bit cheesy but could be cool. Also hard to mastch branded colors but I’ll see what they look like when they arrive:)


Jen Gresham October 3, 2010 at 11:42 am

We’re in this together, Annabel! I love the idea that your strategy has been 18 months of blogging and tweeting–touche! :)

If it helps you any, I now think of putting on my “Annabel face” when I want to be more fearless. You are the epitome of daring (while also sensible) to me. I know you’re going to have a blast!

Thanks for twisting my arm into going–


Annabel Candy October 7, 2010 at 10:06 am

Hi Jen, yay! Can’t wait to met you. We don’t really need to prepare do we… just be our lovely selves:)


Graham Trevor October 3, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Hi Annabel,
I cringe at the word networking. Networking events are usuall bragfests. Been anti-social of late hope you fun and a top blogger can brag ots. :]


Annabel Candy October 7, 2010 at 10:08 am

Hi Graham, there are always a few braggers. Lol, it’s part of the fun:) Not me though.. I’m very quiet!


Alex Blackwell October 3, 2010 at 10:47 pm

I admire your encourage to (A) Ask your readers for support; (B) Make the long trip and (C) admit your vulnerabilities. Thanks for keeping it real Annabel and have fun!



Annabel Candy October 7, 2010 at 10:09 am

Hi Alex, thank you! I hope I’m being a role model in asking for help, being adventurous, sharing my insecurities and persevering. Having you watching makes me strive to be the best I can be:)


Steven H October 4, 2010 at 1:30 am

I’ve never been to any kind of Expo before, but I’ve always wanted to. Back when I was a teenage and I loved videogames I always wanted to go to E3. Now that I am a blogger I want to go to the BlogWorld Expo. But…maybe next year!


Annabel Candy October 7, 2010 at 10:12 am

Hi Steven, let’s make it a date:) I haven’t even been yet but I already want to go again. It sounds amazing and every day they announce more great things. Heavens only knows how I’ll fit it all in.


J.D. Meier October 5, 2010 at 2:52 am

> The trouble is that the very sound of networking leaves me cold
Words and language do make a big difference. I think meeting like-minded peeps warms it up.


Annabel Candy October 7, 2010 at 10:13 am

Hi JD, thank you for rebranding networking as meeting like-minded peeps:) Yes! Now I’m into it:)


Ricardo Bueno October 5, 2010 at 5:17 am

Re: “stay cool and look hot!”

LOLz! I’m sure it’ll be great. Just be sure to tweet people about where to meet, and don’t be afraid/shy to say, “Excuse me, are you so and so?” And viola! You’ve made a new friend :-)

Looking forward to meeting you there! It’s going to be great!


Annabel Candy October 7, 2010 at 10:15 am

Hi Ricardo, lol, well I have a lot to live up to now don’t I:) That should be look as hot as you can when you’re a middle aged mum of three! I hope I don’t have to say “Excuse me, are you Ricardo Bueno?” to toooo many people before I find you. It will be great to meet:)


Robin Dickinson October 5, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Can’t wait to hear how it goes, and get all those blogging smarts. It’s almost as exciting as waiting for your new product! :)

Best, Robin :)

My sharewords: helping you succeed in business. Yours?


Annabel Candy October 7, 2010 at 10:17 am

Hi Robin, there’s a lot of excitement this month. Packing it all in:) Thanks for hanging around waiting. I promise it will be worth it! Successful Blogging in 12 Simple Steps my new book is great. The layout and design are lovely and I’m getting a professional to create a podcast too plus some amazing blogging case studies to fire people up.

It will be great to get it out there.


BenSpark October 6, 2010 at 1:34 am


I hope that you come to the Photowalk. Come find me, I’ll most likely be wearing my Black BenSpark shirt and an Autobot Symbol belt buckle (talk about conversation piece). Thanks for reaching out to me on twitter and also for quoting me in this post.

I’ve been to BWE every year that it has been around and have been blogging 7 years. I’m not “big time” or anything but stuff is starting to come together and it is specifically from meeting great people at these events. Networking at BWE is certainly not work. It is really fun. Hope to see you at my session on Friday at 2:45 : Content You Care About and also hope to see you at the Photowalk.


Annabel Candy October 7, 2010 at 10:32 am

Hi Ben, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Yes, I want to come and will look out for you! You’re big in my book:)

Sorry I can’t come to your talk as it clashes with my room mate Amy Parmenters and I really want to support her. But I’ll hang onto your every word during the walk:)

Here’s my crazy schedule for Friday:

8.30-5pm conference
6pm -8 Photowalk
8-10 Omaha steak party (don’t eat steak but hoping to score free salad
and pudding)
11pm-2am Poker

Might need a siesta but that probably won’t happen!


BenSpark October 7, 2010 at 11:20 pm


That is okay if you can’t come I will be publishing my session notes and then BWE records the sessions.

I see you are going to the Omaha Steak Party, I DMed them my e-mail and they haven’t contacted me yet, hmm. I love me some omaha steaks.

Looking forward to the Photowalk. BWE is now 1 Week Away YEAH!

Michelle Rogerson October 7, 2010 at 12:31 am

Great networking tips. I can be shy, so this really helps. Hope to meet you at BlogWorld, and maybe we can exchange our brand-spanking-new business cards with each other. Looks like you’ve got a long flight ahead of you. :)


Annabel Candy October 7, 2010 at 10:34 am

Hi Michelle, thanks so much for dropping by and introducing yourself. I’ll be looking out for you;) I will be tired but very happy. Can’t wait to meet you.


Anne Galivan October 7, 2010 at 5:18 pm

I love this: “stay cool and look hot!” Advice to live by at all times! ;)


Annabel Candy October 8, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Yes, Anne, and no matter how old we get:) Thank you xoxo


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