Tuesday, July 21, 2009

How to Have the Best BlogHer Ever

I'm reading: How to Have the Best BlogHer EverTweet this!

Everywhere you turn in the momosphere, there's banter about BlogHer. What to pack? What to wear? I want to talk about How to Be.

In the last year mommybloggers have become Hot Stuff. Many of us get offers for free products, invites to swanky and swaggy parties, and some get offers for free trips. I've been on a couple of bloggy junkets and been treated like a total rock star each time. It's amazing. But just because PR folks treat us like divas, doesn't mean we are divas. Nor should we act like them.

Even if you have a sponsor and a dance card full of parties, VIP dinner invitations, and a room full of swag, BlogHer is not a corporate junket. You are there to learn.

Wait a minute, maybe you are only going for the fun and the parties. That's fine, but in that case, skip this post and see if anything in the link section below interests you.

If you are going to BlogHer to learn, to grow personally or professionally, take heed.

During a recent office cleaning I came across 1998 conference notes on how to make the most of a class or conference from a talk by management guru Peter Block. I was tickled to see Michele at the Integrated Mother recently reference his work. His advice is spot-on and, in many cases, timeless.

Peter talked about and had audience members answer four questions. Four questions that are wise to answer honestly and thoughtfully before any conference or class. If you want to make the most of your time at BlogHer, I encourage you to answer these.

1) How valuable of a conference do you plan to have?
2) How active and participative do you plan to be during the event?
3) How responsible and engaged do you feel for the learning of others at this event?
4) How much risk and vulnerability are you up for at the conference?

Number 4 is important. Peter's thinks safety is hostile to learning. You have to take risks if you want to learn and grow. You have to leave your comfort zone.

Of course, that means different things for different people. For one person it might mean showing up at a conference where she doesn't know anyone. For another it might mean taking the lead and introducing herself to a stranger. For yet another it might be asking a question in a workshop.

At my first BlogHer in 2007, I spent most of one session wondering what SEO was. Everyone else in the room seemed to know and I was too embarrassed to ask publicly. Had I spoken up, I would have taken more away from the session.

At BlogHer 2008 I had this vague notion of introducing myself to everybody, but stopped well within my comfort zone. I should have gone beyond. I missed the chance to meet so many great women (and a few men).

Even if you're not presenting, it's your conference. You can and should take responsibility for what you get out of BlogHer. If you're not up for risk and vulnerability (putting yourself out there, if you will), that's okay, but understand that leaving your safety zone and taking a personal stake in the outcome of the event might make for a more meaningful experience.

Other pre-BlogHer must-reads
Ten Commandments of BlogHer Success (okay, that's mine)

Advice from Social Media pro Leah Jones on Permission to Miss Out.

And thoughts from the always sharp Meagan Francis about Selfish Moms who are leaving their
children behind for the BlogHer weekend. (Hint: they are the happiest moms.)

Speaking of which, a here's a great pre-BlogHer read from Selfish Mom herself on Why She's Not Nervous for BlogHer.


Houseonahill said...

Ahhh, thanks. Am nervous, excited, and these tips helped ~ My first conference where I really don't know what to expect but can't wait!

Michele@Integrated Mother said...

Great tips Kim, especially given all the hype of BlogHer, which is definitely well-deserved. I can't make it to the conference this year, but with your help and that of others, hopefully the diva-factor will be kept to a minimum. :)

Sprite's Keeper said...

My motivations for going to BlogHer WERE to have fun and just enjoy being with people on the same mental wavelength when it comes to the Blogosphere. Now, it's taken on a more immediate nature of needing to expand my horizons and look toward profitability. Great post, Kim. Can't wait to see you there!