five conference essentials
family,  parenting

Five Essentials for Conference Season

best_business_cards

Every May conference season kicks off with flare. For the last two years I have been attending Mom 2. o summit. It’s always a great start to conference season. After that, a string of social media and digital media conferences pop up across North America. There’s Travel Bloggers Expo (TBEX), which takes place several different locations each year, Blogher and Bloggy Bash, VidCon, Food Bloggers Conference, Blog Podium, Type A Parent, and eventually Blissdom Canada which is usually October. It is possible for bloggers to find themselves racing from one conference to the next, from May to October. Organized bloggers, photographers and digital media professionals need tools that make conference season effective and productive. These are  my five essentials for conference season.

conference essentials

Five Essentials for Conference Season:

1. Business Cards. My favourite partner for beautiful and professional business cards is Minted. This year I had dozens of Minted business cards from the last batch and I went to Bloggy Bash in New York City and handed out every last one. I didn’t expect that I would go through as many as I did. I easily handed out 200. I came back completely empty and in fact I missed about 15 brands or people towards the end of the conference. Don’t get caught like that. So I returned home and promptly ordered a brand new set and design from Minted. Minted is super fast and they have great service. Plus these cards are gorgeous quality. Business cards aren’t the only thing Minted does, and in fact they have business post cards, Christmas cards, New Year’s cards, personalized art prints and a slew of baby cards. But it’s the business stationery that keeps me coming back. I think Minted has some of the best business cards available on line. Oh, sure, there are some other sites that make cards cheaply, but you get what you pay for and Minted is worth every penny.

2. A business casual wardrobe. See the cute little orange sleeveless dress I bought? (collage above) It was about $90 at Laura Petites. I have a handful of stores I like and rely on, and I buy a few key pieces each season. They are always relatively affordable and they are always dressy but neat. Bloggers are often photographed and they need to look professional. Plus a social media conference is all about the networking. Sometimes that’s networking with other bloggers and sometimes it’s connecting with big name brands. I dress to feel good and to help me portray confidence when I am building and selling my site and my consulting services. That doesn’t mean I haven’t made mistakes. I have. Like flying all day in Lululemons and finding myself at a garden party feeling awkward. (Lesson learned.)

3. A power purse or powerful branded laptop bag: I find that I communicate professionalism and confidence more so when I am carrying a serious purse. The first year that I had my consulting business after I had a certain level of income and I had reached several goals for myself personally and professionally I bought I gorgeous Red Coach bag. I felt great carrying it and I still do. Now I buy a new one every year. This year I bought a Kate Spade bag big enough to hold a tablet and some extras if needed. It worked beautifully.

4. An elevator pitch. This is the one or two sentence pitch you have down by heart every time you meet someone new who says – so tell me about your business. Practice it and change it as needed over the years. But make sure it’s short and to the point. You should be able to say it in an elevator between floors.

5. A game plan. It took me a couple of years to get this down but now I assess the brands and the workshops and other agenda items and I devise a plan before I get there. What is my goal going in? Do I need a new social media consulting business client? Do I need five new brands? Which brands do I need or want to attend to? Am I just there to reconnect with friends and enjoy myself? Am I sightseeing? Am I coming home with a couple of new clients immediately? Do I need to focus hard on the workshops about video? Do I need to find 5 new US bloggers in the a certain age group? Do I need a combination of the above? Have a goal going in and you are far more likely to leave feeling satisfied.

What’s your conference secret weapon?

I am grateful to work with Minted periodically for my business needs. I received business cards for this post. My opinion is all my own.

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.

30 Comments

  • Terry

    There have been several times I have needed business cards and didn’t have them. Not just for my blog, but for other reasons. Your cards turned out great.

  • Dawn McAlexander

    I have to have my business cards, my laptop and smart phone at least when I am going to a conference. It helps if I take a camera, too, to help capture some memories of the trip. I also have to have my planner to write everything down. Without that, I am totally lost!

  • Robin (Masshole Mommy)

    I don’t go to blog conferences, but if I ever decide that my “conference allergy” goes away, I will know what to bring with me.

  • coffee with julie

    I think these are excellent tips! You are clearly a pro at this conference stuff 🙂 I like to ensure I have comfortable but presentable clothing, a charged cell phone, and a great bag too. I sometimes fall down on getting my “elevator pitch” together, and yet, it’s probably one of the most important things!

  • Melissa Pezza

    I never go to a conference – or anywhere for that matter – without my business cards. When I first started blogging, I missed out on so many opportunities to connect because I kept forgetting my cards! =(

  • Tammy @inRdream

    I am a huge fan of Minted. I have a fair bit from them and haven’t never been disappointed with the quality. Your Biz cards looks fantastic. The lime green pops! LOVE!

  • Ladena

    These are great tips! I’m going to my first conference in September so I’ll be sure to use your tips. I’ve already got business cards ready so I think I’m on the right track. 🙂

  • Cherri Megasko

    The elevator pitch is so important. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked someone what they do and they stumble around for what seems like forever before they even make any sense!

  • Aeryn Lynne

    I love your biz cards, will definitely have to check out Mint, as I’m always looking for a new printer. 🙂

    Your tips are fab! Particularly the business casual clothes and power purse. Its amazing what style alone can do for your goals. 🙂

    I’m trying to think up what my conference secret weapon would be, short of ensuring I bring nothing but the comfiest for biz casual shoes! Without the right shoes, you could wind up with wasted day filled with sore feet. 😉

  • Bonnie @ wemake7

    Those are some very nice business cards you have there. I had some made up awhile ago but don’t really pass them out, which I should.

  • Ann Bacciaglia

    I still can not believe how many business cards i handed out at the last conference. I thought i brought way to many but i ran out.

  • Annemarie LeBlanc

    Never leave home without your business cards. You’ll never know who you may bump into! These conference essentials you listed are great! There’s a lot to learn here, specially for the newbies.

  • Jeanine

    Business cards! I need to get new ones I handed them out over a year ago at a expo I was at and still haven’t made more. I love how yours turned out they look amazing, I’ll check out minted for mine!

  • Gabby

    I haven’t been to a conference (yet) but, want to! I’ve seen my Mom pack tons of times and I see that she always has her chargers and back-up chargers. Oh and comfy shoes! She has Minted cards too and loves them.

  • Erin

    Comfy shoes for sure. I always want to wear fashionable shoes but comfort always wins. Luckily, there are some great options out there and conferences require style and cosy feet. lol!

  • Rebecca Swenor

    These are great essentials for a conference season. It is important to have the business cards for any function. Having a game plan before going is actually a big must I believe. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lynndee

    I’ve never been to conference yet, but I would love to go once of these days. Thank you for your tips. I still have to have our business cards made.

  • HilLesha

    I honestly never been to a conference in my 11 years of blogging, so I don’t have any essentials at this given moment. However, I’m hoping to change that someday when I’m not so busy with everything!