Saturday, November 6, 2010

Judge Me By My Friends and Lessons from BlogWorld

All I knew was BlogWorld was a place to find inspiration and I blame Maddie.

Maddie Grant is blogger who makes her living doing stuff similar to what I do: she talks to associations about how to create a bond with members, helps some create a social media strategy, helps some train staff about new communication tools, and (basically) teaches association leaders and staff how to better relate to the members they serve.  [P.S. She and her enigmatic/feisty partner-in-crime Lindy Dreyer just came out with their first book, Open Community, which you will be reading about on this blog more in the very near future.]

Maddie is an inspiration and a good friend.  When Maddie told me BlogWorld would help me avoid social media burnout, I listened and acted.  Thank God I did.  Because I did act on her advice (and because my very cool boss understood the importance of the conference for me), I met people who are working in various creative fields whilst incorporating a business mindset.  End of story.  I will be back.  Twitter is great, but talking with people in person is better when the conversation relates directly to what I do for a living (and my passion).

So, if you are interested in attending BlogWorld in the future...if you can't imagine life without blogs and Twitter, but are wondering how you can spend another minute devoting so much of your life to helping others understand are the FIVE LESSONS for BLOGWORLD you need to commit to before arriving in 2011.

1. Go to Everything - Talk to Everyone

Even if they are wearing pink furry hats.  In fact, because they are wearing pink furry hats you should meet them.  Have fun.  Attend the parties even if you know NO ONE.  By the time you leave, at least a few people will know who you are and that is a win.  Plus, you have no idea what person or what conversation will lead you to a new understanding, idea, or tool that will change the way you do things for the better.  Have you tried Amplify?  No?  It's awesome.  I heard about it as a result of a conversation that two people near me were having.  You'll have similar stories as long as you don't isolate yourself.

2. Invest [heavily] in 5-Hour Energy Drinks and Starbucks Via

Part of joining in is staying up to mingle despite a time difference.  Staying up until 4 a.m. PT is hard even if you live in that time zone.  Add three hours to it and you're talking serious hurt.  The magic of 5-Hour energy drink is in the massive doses of B vitamins and it might just help you party like a rockstar while you are attending BlogWorld Expo.  It helped me.  Starbucks Via is another mainstay in my luggage whenever I am traveling.  You never know when you'll need an extra dose of caffeine and this stuff tastes fairly decent.  In fact, come and get me if you don't like it, I think Starbuck Via tastes as good as their regular brew.

3. Creativity Counts

Sure, people will remember you at BlogWorld if you have a pink furry hat, blue hair, a business card that doubles as a beer bottle opener...that is true.  But if you are also super smart and a very real person who dares to mingle with the masses, they will also remember you. Ultimately, it pays to put a little time into thinking of ways to define your image and make yourself memorable before attending any event.

*[By the way, the pink furry hat, blue hair, and bottle opener business card people I'm thinking of are amazingly savvy and not surviving by their memorable meeting promo/materials alone, but rather allowing their signature pieces to play into their personal brands. Look up Miss Destructo if you need an example of "super savvy" or someone who would make the perfect Lara Croft. (Sorry Angelina.)]

4. The Bloggers Lounge is Your Home Base

Any blogger worth his or her salt will find free coffee and plenty of outlets.  The Bloggers Lounge at BlogWorld offers both and it will call to you with its siren song in the morning when you most need another cup to follow your Starbucks Via. 

Let it happen.

You will meet people there.  People who need wifi, outlets, and caffeine like you do...people who are your family at some strange level.

Let it happen.

5. Attend the Seminars You Wouldn't Normally Attend

The best session I attended at BlogWorld was the one I ended up in accidentally.  The sessions I received the least from were the ones I had planned to attend.  My best advice?  Attend the seminars you don't think you need. They will give you advice you didn't know you needed.  The content will be different than you are used to and you will feel more alive when you leave. 

Go Ahead, Judge Me

When I was in high school I remember hearing my father say people judged a person by his or her friends.  I had a lot of crazy friends at the time, so I didn't particularly like what he was saying, but I thought about what he said many times while at BlogWorld.

I danced with Maddie and our friends at BlogWorld and watched her smile and smile.  She was re-filling her well, capturing moments in her life that would feed her during late nights in her future when she was writing blog posts and working for clients.  I smiled too.  If I were judged by my friends at that moment I would be perfectly fine.  I knew that no matter how much my feet would hurt in the morning, the experience was worth it.


  1. Crying. You so rock. Thanks for writing this! Bring on next year at #bwe11!!

  2. Love this post. I'm judging you: you're fantastic.

  3. Hey Kiki, I'm glad I left an impression with the pink hat. It was great meeting you and I definitely agree with go to everything, talk to everyone, at least as much as you can.

    Sure...not everyone is social, but it kills me when you have all these amazing people around, and some people are keeping to themselves.

    By the way, the bottle card opener business card I think you're talking about was from Jay Baer, unless someone else had one like it.

  4. Maddie, it is totally true - I am so happy for our friendship and that we had the chance to share an experience like BlogWorld with our other friends. A great memory!

    Deirdre, I wish you'd been would've loved it. You would already have submitted a proposal for the next BlogWorld before we'd left.

    Mike, how could you *not* leave an impression? :) It was indeed Jay's card I mentioned. I think I'll go back to my post and add links to you guys for the curious! ;)

  5. Kiki, you are such a name dropper! You know all of the cool people who blog about TradeShows. To repeat an old saying, "If I could be half as cool as you, I'd be the 2nd coolest person on the earth." That's actually not true anymore. I now realized that, with all your name dropping, there may be others as cool as you, e.g. Maddie Grant, Lindy Dreyer, my dad, Jesus... Ya know, the titans.

    Mike Hatch (yes, "dear Dad") taught me an important point about Conferences and Trade Shows: prepare for a sixteen hour day. I do not drink alcohol, which helps me stay alert. It also makes my spastic dance moves look really cool to my inebriated contacts, as the night wears on!

    Regardless of your use/non-use of "Wine and Spirits", it's important to always be focused on purpose during meetings. I have met better contacts after trade shows than on the floor...

    That leads me to ask anyone: why do you believe the trade show is still of vital importance to business people?

  6. Note - I have met SOME better contacts off the show floor, not all! (Snicker)

  7. Eric, you crack me up!

    Just because someone is a vendor doesn't mean they don't have helpful information or contacts to offer. I think I just hate feeling like someone is selling to me when I visit the expo hall. If the booth crew is cool and if they can provide helpful information and be CONNECTORS it makes me feel fortunate to have met them. If they are just booth candy for the eyes and not helpful, it seems like an expensive advertisement to me.

    Trade shows and conferences of all types are hugely important because the face to face makes the online relationship real...and it helps to bring together those who might not have met otherwise.

    Thanks for all the comments!


Thanks for your comments!