Last weekend I spoke at the Influence Conference in Indianapolis. My husband Will came with me for just one night, even though I felt kinda bad asking him to come along to a *women’s* blogging conference. I needn’t have. He had a blast. Today I asked him to share what the conference was like to an “outsider.” Enjoy!
This weekend I went to my first women’s blogging conference. This makes sense since 1) I am not a woman and 2) I don’t blog. I was there to support my wife who had the opportunity to speak at the Influence Conference on the messy and winding road of the 20s and 30s.
As a guy, it was a messy and winding weekend. But just like our 20s and 30s, that can be a really fun adventure.
Here are some highlights from the weekend:
This made me smile:
Besides the fun I had (see above) I also learned a ton.
First, I saw how well these women lived out this quote from Hayley Morgan’s session: “Even if you’re a rock star blogger, you’re still just a rock star blogger.” I don’t read a lot of women’s blogs so when reading a name tag, I didn’t know immediately if someone was a “big deal blogger.” And it never mattered. I met people who hadn’t even started a blog, one that I knew my wife read, but didn’t realize she had just started two months ago, and even some whose traffic ranks them as bona fide “big deal bloggers.”
Of course my wife was speaking, but I wasn’t “in” with any of these folks. In fact, during the Stripes Party–the social event kickoff–Anne got pulled away and many people didn’t even know I was with her. Yet everyone I met was so approachable.
They weren’t just approachable at the party though. I found all weekend that people wanted to help people. Whether this was picking someone’s brain over lunch or hanging to take specific questions after a session, I saw it in person and in the back and forth on Twitter. The beauty of a blogging conference over other conferences is bloggers don’t see each other as competition but community. They aren’t competing with each other, they’re investing in each other.
One guy who’s passionate about investing in others is John Saddington. In his session, he asked, “Who needs your help & who needs to help you?” (Which is what this non-blogger is doing next, offering help, so hit me up if you need a hand).
When we met the night before, he told me “if there’s anything I can do, let me know.” Which I thought was awfully nice. But then at lunch after his session, he asked again and gave Anne and I his attention right there and then. Not a “someday” offer, not a polite offer, a concrete I’m-at-your-disposal offer.
After spending some time with John, I had to get home to our kiddos. But I followed the conference hashtag (#InfluenceConf) the rest of the weekend. Honestly, Twitter made this event for me, both while I was there and when I came home. It immediately allowed me to connect with people I only met briefly between sessions and it carried conversations well beyond what’s polite while someone is giving a presentation. It even made some of its own introductions.
During one session I saw a tweet from someone I knew sitting behind me that said she was admiring another Twitter friend’s hair–it was a women’s conference. I scan the chair arrangement and realize I’m sitting with this person, but we hadn’t met yet. Perfect introduction after the session.
But for those of us playing at home (me on Saturday), Twitter was our real-time connection to all the great info coming out of those sessions. Now not everything makes sense from afar, but if you follow an active hashtag you can get a pretty good picture of what’s happening. I continued to make connections and learned a lot just by following the flood coming through my feed.
So all this to say, if you have huge dreams, get the right help, work your tail off, and ask the hotel to keep the coffee on all day you can accomplish more than you could ever hope or imagine. So a big congratulations and thanks to Hayley, Jessie, Casey, and Moriah.
Now what are you going to dream? Who are you going to ask for help? And are you willing to work to make it happen?
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Will’s been helping me the past two years with the technical, editorial, and business side of blogging. After this weekend, he’s planning on sharing some of what he’s learned/learning at Mr Darcy Designs.