As promised, Part 2 of my Haven blog conference recap focuses on the Cliff notes I took during the classes I attended.  You can read Part 1 here.  Before I dive into the class notes though, I wanted to share my own insights about developing relationships inside the blogging community, especially when you're at a blog conference.  If you're not a blogger, the advice below could also apply to networking in your career.


When you attend a blog conference, like Haven, you obviously want to make as many connections as possible because that's where most of your opportunity for growth as a blogger comes from.  Make sure to mingle with as many people as possible and don't stay in your comfort zone, only chatting with people you already know.  Be open to meeting everyone you come in contact with.  Stuck in the same elevator or in the lunch line together?  Introduce yourself and say hi!  A couple super easy conversation starters begin with simple questions:  Where are you from?  How long have you been blogging?  What class(es) are you attending?  Most people are there to meet other people too, so they will welcome you starting the conversation.  

Open yourself up to meeting blog authors with different size influences.  Don't be afraid to approach someone just because their blog might be more visible than yours.  The "smaller" blogs will become the "bigger" blogs in time!  Keep in mind that everyone at a blog conference is just a person who loves blogging.  If you happen upon someone who acts distant or cold, it may just be their own nerves.  But, it's easy enough to just move on if you're not connecting. 

I was intimidated at my first blog conference to meet the women who I looked up to as mentor bloggers like Centsational Girl and Thrifty Decor Chick.  They both couldn't have been more gracious as I approached and got to tell them how much their blogs inspired me to start my own.  I introduced myself, looked them in the eye and offered my sincere words of thanks.  Our first in-person conversations were only a couple minutes long.  That's okay! At Haven this year, I got to chat with Sarah many times and she felt like a familiar, old friend.  If you continue in the blogging world for a consistent amount of time, you'll probably have the opportunity to meet up with many bloggers repeatedly, and the more contact you have, the more "natural" it feels to interact each time you see each other in person.  Three and a half years ago, the Haven ladies had no idea of who I was, and last year I was honored to be invited to speak at their conference.

If you have ambitions to grow your blog or work with other bloggers, simply be genuine and kind, continue to build your own great blog content, share it on your social network outlets and with other bloggers, and make yourself visible to bloggers by thoughtfully commenting on their blog posts, Facebook pages, and Instagrams.  

Over time, some of the bloggers you once admired from afar can turn into your best girlfriends!

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