This post is for everybody thinking about attending/prepping for an upcoming Alt Summit blogging conference. I wrote it in preparation for my first Alt NYC in 2013. Since Alt was such a game-changer for me, I thought I'd share a few of tips from my Alt Summit SLC experience. (You can read my other posts about Alt Summit here (Alt Summit NYC Recap and a few tips), Alt Summit SLC 2013 here, and a post triggered by a theme at the 2013 conference that bloggers are doing (and should be doing!) so much more than blogging called Not Just Bloggers Anymore. Hope you enjoy! Would love to hear your comments!)
1) Wear something you feel amazing in. Spend a little money and wear the skirt that you know looks *amazing* on you, or that blouse that has the perfect sweetheart neckline. Do your make-up, do your hair, and do all the little things you might do to treat yourself before a very special event. (Manicure, haircut, hair masque, eyebrow threading, etc. Whatever.) I'm not a high-maintenance girl but I always wear a little more make-up and make sure every piece of my outfit won't give me a second thought. It makes the WORLD of difference when you're not fussing with your hemline, or hiding your peeling nail polish. Feeling confident allows you to take the focus off of you, and puts it on others—which is where you should be investing all your energy at an event like this.
2) Bring beautiful, clear business cards. 100-125 should be plenty. Bring one pouch for cards collected, and one pouch for your cards. Bring a pen to jot down notes on your meeting/that person/things you don't want to forget directly on the card. This is so, so important! My friend Miranda from One Little Minute brought a college ruled notebook and took notes throughout the day and every night on every person she met and everything she learned. You'll totally forget everything by the time you get home so make clear, detailed notes about each person you want to reconnect with. You will not regret this, I swear. If you have time, also add every person you meet on Twitter, or people you want to meet with at the conference beforehand.
3) Be able to describe what you do and what your blog/business is in one clear sentence. If it's undetermined, that's okay! Just make one clear statement about what you're in the process of making. It's a Hello/Elevator pitch in one. Make sure it's short and sweet.
4) Research, research, research. Know who's sponsoring your dinner, who else will be there, and the ins and out of the location, dress code, etc. Find out who else is attending Alt (especially those you admire, the speakers, or possible collaborators) and connect within the next few days via Twitter or Email. (If you haven't already!) When you're at Alt, text, tweet, or email those you want to meet and make it happen. To top that off, bring a notebook and jot down all the Twitter handles of the bloggers/sponsors you'd like to meet with. Then, when you're available to meet, send a quick DM or email. This worked like a charm.
5) Be a confident floater. I love a person who you can float from one person to the next, pull others in, step away when it's time, and most important, just be fine alone. You'll exchange more business cards, meet more people, and have more fun if you're confident and independent. I attended Alt SLC alone, like a lot of attendees, and it was THE BEST THING EVER. I saw a few friendly faces from Brooklyn and Salt Lake City, but other than that I was a free bird. It opened up my time and energy to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted to. This led to meeting some incredible bloggers that I may have not met otherwise and making some really, really amazing friends. On that note, do not be scared to introduce yourself to whoever you'd like to meet, however amazing/talented/beautiful you think they are. You do not want regrets the next morning, my friends. And if you do not say hello to ______ when she was standing right in front of you, you will regret it.
I really do feel like ALT SLC was a game-changer for me and really pushed me to put some ideas in motion that I was absolutely terrified to act on. I'm sure I'll feel the same encouragement and sense of community at ALT NYC this week. Ok! I'm super excited for Thursday. See you all there!
P.S. — Will I see you there? I'd love to meet you. You can catch me at @OriginalKos or email me at Koseli Cummings @ gmail . com. If I knew what I'd be wearing, I'd drop a hint so you can find me but seriously, just look for the pregnant girl in heels.