It’s nearly one whole year since I started my blog (and by that, I mean it’s been a whole year since making it public after almost a year of writing in private mode because I was too scared to share anything). I’ve learnt a lot of blog related stuff over those 12 months, including how to build a website, how to manage different social media platforms, how to gain followers and keep them interested (I think), how to make different types of content, and how to get the most out of networking events.
That last one is something I’ve only done a handful of times over the past year, but it’s something I’ve really enjoyed doing. Not only is it an exciting thing to try, but it’s a good way to meet fellow bloggers from your niche/region while also getting your own name out there. My first one was at Icelolly’s Blog at the Beach in Leeds in 2018, my second one was at Euroventure’s first ever Travel Story event down in London earlier this year, and my third was just last week at a Portobello Road Gin event in Leeds. (Travel and gin is probably the most on brand niche my blog could have possibly taken).
Going to one of these networking events for the first time can be quite nerve wracking, so I thought I would put together a handy guide on how to survive your first one. All based on my own experiences, all completely true, all guaranteed to make you wonder how I manage to function as a grown up human being. Enjoy:
Try to avoid turning up completely covered in water
When I went to the Portobello Road Gin event last week, it was a very very last minute invite after somebody had dropped out. As a result of this, I had approximately 38 minutes to have a shower, get ready, and leg it to the train station. I somehow managed to do it, and briskly walked down the road with time to spare for my train. I remember feeling pretty lucky, because it had been raining heavily all day and had literally just stopped in time for me to leave the house.
At the exact moment I had this thought, a car going down the road towards me drove through a HUGE puddle and covered me in a wave of rain water. If you want to picture the scene, just think about that tragic bit in Bridget Jones where she gets covered head to toe because that’s LITERALLY EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED. If I’d emailed the PR to say ‘Sorry I’m late, traffic is crazy so I’m just front crawling up the River Aire lol” it would have been 100% believable. The whole episode was quite stressful and left me needing a drink, but thankfully I was on my way to a gin masterclass, so, you know, swings and roundabouts.
Try not to dribble when you talk to someone you have literally just met
When I was at the gin masterclass I took my social ineptness to a whole new impressive level by trying to start a sentence at the same time as having a drink during a conversation with someone I had literally just met. Due to the annoying laws of gravity, this led to the whole thing dribbling down my chin in the same way a small baby might do trying to eat for the first time. (Soggy and covered in booze, not the BEST look).
Try not to throw a drink over someone you have literally just met
Shortly after the dribble incident we all started learning how to make another gin cocktail. Everything went smoothly until the bit where it was all in the mixer and we had to do that thing where you shake it over each shoulder (I’m sure you can guess what’s coming). A combination of trying to keep up with everyone else and feeling a bit drunk already meant that I forgot to put the lid on mine and shook half of my cocktail onto the person stood next to me, who also happened to be holding a very expensive looking camera. Oops.
Try not to be too self deprecating
My final (and actually useful) piece of advice is to self promote as much as possible. During one of the talks at the Blog at the Beach event last year, we were asked to raise our hands and describe our blog in three words. I put mine up, panicked, and said the following: