Conferences can be stressful, especially when it’s your first time ever attending. You don’t know anyone, you’re not sure what to do, and you’re feeling a little overwhelmed. Don’t worry! You’re not the only one. Take a deep breath, relax, and read this awesome list of Dos and Don’ts I’ve collected. There’s a wide variety of tips in the line-up! From attending sessions to hotel location, check out the great advice from some stellar ladies who attended WITS with me in Milwaukee. Veterans – you might even find a tip in here too!
So stoked to #VisitMKE for #WITS17! Welcome welcome to every single one of you who is in town with us this weekend. We can't wait to learn from you, network with you, & party with you at our opening party at the @hdmuseum tonight! Special kudos to the entire team at @visitmilwaukee for making this upcoming weekend so special. It's going to be a blast, and we're thrilled to share it with all of you. <3
DO: Make the most of signing up for the pre conference trips! Some of my biggest connections and friendships were made while on these! – Kylie of Between England & Iowa
DON’T: Be intimidated if you’re just a beginner. Everyone is there to learn and share and connect. It’s not a contest of whose got the most followers and best blog. You’re networking, meeting new people and forging connections to further embolden your future ventures.- Kay of Kay Writes Stuff
DO: Have answers to the questions: “What are my goals?” “What can I give/contribute to the community?” – Megan of GoAbroad.com
DON’T: Be afraid to take a nap. Don’t be afraid to miss a session if you’re dealing with information overload or if the session choices cover familiar material. – Sandra of The Spa in Me
DO: Take the opportunity to explore the city the conference is in! Do a little research and have an idea in mind, but leave some time to just wander. You never know what amazing hidden gems you’ll stumble upon! – Me!
DON’T: Be a wallflower. Conferences can be overwhelming and stressful because they are crowded and the schedules are crazy. It’s easy to make one friend and stick with that person the entire time. Especially after a full day of meetings, networking, and speakers all you want to do is go back to your room to relax BUT don’t. Push yourself outside of your comfort zone to network and meet people, meet different people, meet all the people! There’s usually an after hours dinner or networking event and make yourself go! Trust me, you’ll have fun and it’ll be worth it. – Ady of Verbal Gold Blog
DO: Take some time to think about what you want to get from the conference because everyone has a different goal. Think about what you want to learn from the conference, who you’d like to connect with while there, and if there are certain brands in attendance that you want to meet for future opportunities. It’s also a good idea to do your homework! Look over the conference agenda, spend some time in the conference Facebook group to get to know other attendees, and check out the hashtag on Twitter to see what people are talking about in advance. This can also help if you’re feeling nervous about going since it’s a great way to meet people before you get there! – Leticia of Tech Savvy Mama
DON’T: Forget to make time to wander around the exhibit hall and engage in inspiring conversations with the event sponsors. – Megan of GoAbroad.com
DO: Determine if the hotel where you are staying offers shuttle service. If not, try to arrange sharing the taxi cost with other conference attendees. Determine private shuttle services or Uber services. Plan transportation well in advance if you aren’t renting a car. – Sandra of The Spa in Me
DON’T: Don’t be scared to walk up to someone and compliment them as an opening line to meaningful dialogue. Especially at a women’s conference. If you can point out something about them that you genuinely like and can highlight, use it as a pivot for on-theme based discussions. – Selome of SingTeachWriteFly
DO: Connect with the vendors, even if you don’t think it will go anywhere, it never hurts to just say hi and introduce yourself. The vendors are there for a reason and you never know, you might meet a potential client or hear of an opportunity you wouldn’t have otherwise. – Kay of Kay Writes Stuff
DON’T: Forget to take care of yourself! While we go to learn, conferences can be physically and mentally exhausting so be sure to assess how you’re feeling. It’s ok to pick the things you most want to go to and step outside to get some fresh air when there are breaks. Also be sure to eat real meals! It’s easy to go from cocktail party to cocktail party but sometimes your body just wants a real breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Take a walk to a nearby restaurant and enjoy the fresh air, a real meal, and some quiet time so you’ll feel refreshed and ready to step back inside, ready to learn! –Leticia of Tech Savvy Mama
DO: Live-tweet any sessions or tours that you attend, and remember to quote public figures, hashtag important concepts or locales, and grab the attention of anyone that you want to work with in the future. – Selome of SingTeachWriteFly
DON’T: Worry about where and when to eat! I ended up having dinner before the opening party to discover that food was provided and then breakfast and lunch was provided on the conference days! – Kylie of Between England & Iowa
DO: Bring business cards, ask questions, take notes, network, make friends, meet people, and follow them on social media immediately! You can even do it in front of them. It helps to remember those people even better and strengthen your relationship! – Ady of Verbal Gold Blog
DON’T: Be rigid in your schedule. Think ahead about what sessions you want to attend, but be flexible. If a session isn’t what you expected, it is ok to go to another. – Renada of Follow the Detour
DO: Book a one on one session with at least one of the speakers. Having someone who has success in an area that you are growing sit with you for an hour is an incredible resource. It also creates a face to face relationship so when you reach out to them in the future that will remember who you are. – Tara of Love, Wine & Sunshine
DON’T: Overthink about what to wear. This might sound silly, but there’s no dress code! Just be comfortable so that you can be your best you – there’s nothing worse than trying to concentrate on pitching yourself or networking while being constantly nagged by pinched toes or uncomfy pants. – Me!
DO: Be prepared and expect the unexpected. I was glad that I brought a nice blouse because it was perfect for the professional head shot (unexpected!) that I had taken by the women at Purposeful Nomad. – Renada of Follow the Detour
DON’T: Feel like you are not good enough, big enough or successful enough. WITS is an incredibly encouraging and inclusive place, filled with women who want to help each other succeed and grow. Talk, interact and ask questions. You will make awesome contacts and fun new friends. – Tara of Love, Wine & Sunshine
The final photo. How was this less than a week ago? We miss you so much, #WITS17. ❤ Who's ready for #QuebecRegion next year though?! #WITS18 #wanderful #travel #visitmke #milwaukee #wanderlust #wisconsin #wanderlusting #midwest #womenintravel #womenentrepreneurs #womenintravelsummit (📷: @jason.seagle)
Did you attend WITS and have any additional tips? What about other travel blogging conferences? I’d love to hear your advice in the comments below!