I made a decision this year not to go to any of the big blogging conferences. For the last few years I’ve gone to at least one, mainly due to the classic ‘fear of missing out’ syndrome; when you’re not there it feels like everyone else in the whole wide world is, and you’re sure they are all having an amazing time. The reality of these big events for me though is that I get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people and the number of brands that instead of networking I hide in the toilets. (Despite my cocky online exterior I am actually pretty shy.)
Do you ever feel like this at big events? So overwhelmed with the potential to connect with people that you end up paralysed?
I was a little nervous then last Friday heading off to the Talk to Mums blog brunch in London. I accepted the invitation as a mini challenge to myself – if I wasn’t going to go to a conference I felt I should at least make the effort to go to more events and to meet some people face to face. Also, I was a speaker, talking about how to up your blogging game, so you really can’t hide in the toilets for that.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, as Talk to Mums a new venture, but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the event. It was small enough to feel intimate and manageable, but big enough to have felt worth the trip. I had plenty of time to chat to other bloggers plus there was time to meet a lot of the brands properly and to talk about their plans, rather than having to shove my way to the front of a crowd just to pick up a free pen.
I met brands I love already, who I’ve worked with before, like method, (one of my favourite April things), and Upbeat, and new people too like Mornflake and Cheeky Cow Cheese. It was exciting to find out that the cheese people are based just down the road from me at Cricketer’s Farm; I will definitely be heading there to put their restaurant and farm shop to the test. I was very pleased as well to meet the lovely people from the Antigua and Barbuda Tourist Authority – their presentation was fab and the sneak peek we got of their new airport’s VIP departure lounge was the stuff of holiday dreams; sun loungers on a deck while you wait for your flight? Yes please.
I came away from the event feeling really pleased with myself, having delivered a pretty decent talk and laid the foundations for some interesting potential relationships. I’m definitely going to be going to more events like this as a conference alternative.
What are your favourite type of blogger or networking events?