Today I am FINALLY getting to attend a conference I’ve been looking forward to attending for YEARS! ALT summit!
Over the last few years I’ve been able to get out of my basement office and enjoy meeting and spending time with other like minded people at blog conferences! They are great for learning, inspiring, and rejuvenating me. I’m a total extrovert and Im at my best and happiest when I’m out and having fun. |
It’s great being with creative and busy women (and a few men) and I always come home so excited for what’s next for me and what I love to do. I always take away something new and exciting, with new goals and direction. It helps me refocus and reminds me why I love what I do!
These conference are full of opportunities, networking and a chance to not only meet with brands and sponsors, new and future technology and also other bloggers to learn from and collaborate with on future ideas and projects. Sometimes it’s getting to hang out with people you already know, and often to meet new people you wouldn’t have meet any other way!
For me preparing and getting ready for the conference is almost as much fun as the conference itself! So here is my packing list if things you can bring to help make the most of your experience.
Business cards – a must, you won’t get to everyone but I like to have enough to cover 1/3-1/2 of the attendees. NO need to go overboard and buy enough for the next 20 conferences. I did that my first time and my logo (and desire to have a better quality of card) changed by the next conference. I, of course, like adding something fun and memorable to my business cards, I hand out these cake pops with mine!
Cell phone and back up charger – DUH, we’re bloggers a nice phone is just part of the territory. And of course you’ll bring your charger for the room, but there isn’t always an outlet where you need one, so I don’t go anywhere without my back up charger in my purse as well.
Elevator pitch – Everyone asks for these things: your name, your blog name and what you blog about. So the first two are easy enough, but do you have a simple sentence that explains your blog easily? My blog is about teaching everything I love, cakes, parties, recipes and more, so that other mothers and women can do the same for their own family.
Laptop or tablet or pad and paper – your preferred method of note taking. Personally I cant read my own handwriting, like AT ALL. And a tablet, while lightweight, is terrible for typing. BUT I type like a mad woman, like super fast, so having a laptop is key for me. (don’t forget the charger)
DSLR, SD cards, lenses – this is on the optional list, but if your going to any hands on photography classes I’d bring it. I find that it’s easier to remember what I’ve learned if I DO it, not just note taking. OR if you don’t feel comfortable using your camera yet a blog conference is a GREAT place to get help, SOMEONE will have your camera model and can help. (and of course a charger)
Sturdy gorgeous bag to hold it all – My FAVORITE is this AMAZING Epiphanie camera/laptop bag. It holds everything, and I mean EVERYTHING and still has room for collecting bits of swag, class handouts, business cards, etc… as I go through out the day. (and of course I love it when I’m at home too!)
Fun but comfortable clothes – The advice I’ll give about clothes is to be your best self. Don’t try to be someone else, don’t buy clothes and colors you wouldn’t normally wear, cause you’ll be uncomfortable, physically and emotionally. And we want to meet YOU, the real you. So be yourself, but your best self, I dress better for blogger events than I do for dates with my husband. BUT not sooo dressed up that your physically uncomfortable all day, save the super fancy stuff (if that’s your thing) for an evening party. Some people change, most don’t.
Shoes (and accessories) – not gonna lie, it’s ALL about the shoes for me. I was 5 months pregnant with Baby Boy one year at EVO and I spent the whole weekend in Stiletto’s, it’s kind of my thing. I was barefoot by the end of the night with swollen feet, but dang I looked good! I LOVE my Stiletto’s so it’s what I do, but I would suggest comfortable shoes (unless you are into the “it hurts to look good” motto)
Roommates – If your splitting a room (I suggest staying at the location even if the conference is local to you, you’ll get SO much out of it socially) to save money make sure your roommates are on the same sleep schedule as you. Nothing breaks up a roommates situation worse that some roommates wanting to go to sleep early and some wanting to stay up late partying.
Roommates gifts – Usually I’ve meet my roommates online, and not in person until the conference, so roommate gifts are a great way to break the ice and share a bit about yourself! I’m bringing Vanilla sugar, mini coconut bread loafs and Chocolate chip scones (no breakfast at the hotel so good stuff to snack on and something to take home and enjoy)
Pre-conference socializing – Most conferences have FB groups and twitter parties before the conference. They are a GREAT way to get to know people before hand, meet roommates, learn from people who have attended the conference before, etc… It’s also an amazing way to meet and learn about the sponsors too. Sometimes you’ll find other bloggers to fly in with, or have pre meet ups in your local town. Learn the hashtag and use it! Try following it as well, it’s a great way to connect!
Class Schedule – some conferences have apps for the schedule, AMAZING, but a lot don’t. Go over the schedule before hand and narrow down your top two classes. Sometimes your top choice is full so it’s good to have a second choices. AND if your conference is in a large location sometimes you have to plan out getting from one class to another. It doesn’t mean you have to stick with it, but its nice to have a bit of a direction.
Sponsors – read up on the sponsors, know not only who they are, but what they are looking for. So if there is one that’s a good fit you can make sure to introduce yourself, get a card and follow up with later! You DON’T have to come away with a deal all inked up, in fact pushing too hard can be a turn off. Stalking isn’t advised.
Bathroom stuff – Don’t forget to throw in your bathroom stuff, deodorant, face wash, contact solution, make up, etc… and some first aid stuff, advil, pad/tampon/diva cup, band-aid, etc… oh and nail clippers and file, those always come in handy!
Last min prep – It can be crazy busy and sometimes stressful getting ready for a conference. For me it’s all about lists, packing lists, to do, shopping, Make sure to take the time to pamper yourself, refresh your hair, nails, etc… AND get enough sleep, because you won’t get much at the conference!
AT the conference – relax and have fun! You made it to the conference, so whatever is done is done, forget about what might not have gotten crossed of the list and just ENJOY being there.
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Sounds like you’ll have fun! Great pictures by the way. (in this post I mean) You should do a post on how you take such good pictures! And I’m only half joking 😉
awww your so sweet! My sister took some of them (she’s an AMAZING photographer and does all our family pictures) she’s taught me everything I know! I also learned from Photo’s by Emilie at a conference I attended, she’s a great teacher!
Thank you for a wonderful pre-conference list. I will be at Alt in SLC as well and this is my first blogging conference, so I’m sick to my stomach and not even close to prepared. Maybe I will run into you, I’ll be the gal that looks nauseous wearing an outfit that make you think “Is that on purpose?”
I hope you enjoyed ALT! It was SO crazy and SO huge (the largest amt of people at a conference I ever attended!) but it was fun!
Amber @ Dessert Now, Dinner Later!
I love this Ashlee! Great tips! Some I hadn’t even thought of!
thanks! can’t wait to see you this weekend at the next conference!
aimee @ like mother like daughter
Great tips Ashlee! BYB will be my first conference ever and I am getting so excited about it!
Super helpful article Ashlee, thanks a bunch! I’m going to my first ever conference in a few months (SNAP!) and seriously have NO IDEA what to explain, plan for, etc. So this definitely is bookmarked to read again a few times as I’m prepping.
One question: I really want to take my laptop, but don’t know if it’s worth taking it to classes because it may die. Did you find yours lasted enough from classes to make it worth lugging around?
MOST conferences are GREAT at having outlets in the classroom, they are prepared for people to bring them and want to plug in. but an older laptop that dies quickly? might be tough. Mine is newish so it lasts long enough to take notes for a few classes before recharging. So I can sit in the front most of the time, but sit in the back by an outlet when I need to as well. Only one of the conferences I went do was lacking in outlets. and I had to take hand written notes for ONE class for that reason. Personally I just CAN’T take notes on anything else and expect to review them later. BUT if you can then for sure leave the heavy laptop if you can. it all comes down to how you take notes, you def want to be able to review later
Maybe I can convince hubby to let me get a tablet instead Lol
I tried a tablet one conference, I hate trying to type on them, so heavy bulky laptop it is for me. But if you can easily take notes on a tablet than TOTALLY go for it! so much lighter and easier to carry around
Tara @ Keep Moving Forward With Me
Love the tips! Love the shoes and bag even more. I’m thinking I need an accessory shopping day before SNAP!
this bag is GORGEOUS and amazing! and it’s ALL about the shoes, right??? I will say I ended up barefoot during the parties at night
marissa | Rae Gun Ramblings
This is great Ashlee! Pinned. PS can I be your roommate next conference 😉
awww your too cute! What’s your next conference? I’d totally love that!
Love the tips, I want to go to a conference so so so much!
your in luck! there are SO many local to UT it’s easy to find one to attend! They have them all the time and for a ton of specific blogging topics as well! It’s SOOO nice to spend the weekend with people who GET it!
Kathleen @ Fearlessly Creative Mammas
Great tips. I’m going to my first conference and I’m so excited! Love you bag too!
YAY! What conference are you going to??? and thanks! Epiphanie bags are AMAZING!
Love this list, and it makes me want a new bag. We need to be roomies again sometime when I don’t have the flu. And you said you dress better than for dates with your “husbands”. Is there something you’re not telling me? LOL!
GAH, thanks for the catch. although he does change temperament so… dr Jekyll mr hyde? kind of like being married to two men… JK! I’ll go fix it now. Looking forward to seeing you this weekend, wish we had thought about it earlier and roomed together for the night!
It was so nice to meet you at alt! i know my mom was happy to meet you as well 🙂 love your blog!
It was great meeting you too! Can’t WAIT to work with your mom more! It totally made the weekend for me to meet her! I hope we can really help each other out!
What a great writeup.. I heard that the Alt-Summit was an amazing experience this year.
I have a few conferences coming up, and really need to perfect my elevator pitch!
It was super fun! I’ve enjoyed trying out new conferences this year!