Remember that one time when I went to Alt last year? Well... I forgot to publish my post. Whoops! Here it is for you! All the things that I learned at Alt Summer 2015. Maybe it will help you as you prepare for your conferences for 2016 - and I hope it does. Because a conference is only as great as the lessons you learn.
Alt... I mean, where do I start? I guess the beginning? But there is seriously so much I want to say and share. The experience was wonderful and I am so grateful I was able to attend ALT this summer. I would love to fill you in on all the classes and all the blogging things I learned... but at the end of the day I think it is most important to share what I learned about being a blogger at ALT. How to be the best you and how to make the best of a blogging conference.
Round table with Twin Tested // Front row in class // Back of the class // Photobooth with roomies
Pinterest and Facebook blass // Black and White party // WovenPear // ALT Stage
First Day Photobooth // Front row at Alison Show // Macy's Dinner // Listening intently
Socks on socks // My girls and ALT // Create something // Macy's dessert
Make friends. This is without a doubt the most important thing you can do at any blog conference, work conference, or any social gathering. I have one motto I live by at conferences, "never suppress a generous thought." I spend my day sharing the thoughts on my heart because sometimes it will just make someone smile and sometimes it leads to an amazing friendship. The best part about conferences are the friends you make and the relationships you build. And I stand by that. The educational aspect will always offer a few nuggets, but the friendships can offer a few gems.
Hand out your card. Design something that represents who you are. Get 500 printed. Take them all. Hand them out to as many people as possible. And if someone doesn't know if they had your card, hand it out again! There is nothing bad that can come from handing out your card. And on that note, collect cards because there is nothing bad that can come from you having someones card either. Business cards are gateways to collaborations and opportunity. You never know what doors will be opened from a card exchange.
Take photos. This one should be obvious. Photos and memories and all of the above. Make sure you have something to share and to look back on. Especially if you are a blogger. You want to be able to pass those memories on. Plus, you will want to be able to remember the experiences later. Photos are a quick scrapbook of your experiences.
Laugh a lot. Laugh at the good and the bad. My favorite quote is, "You win some, and you win some." Because no matter what - if you can learn and laugh you are winning. Make sure you aren't taking yourself to seriously. Be the person with an infectious smile. Be the person that draws people in with your wining attitude. Be the person that everyone comes to when they need a pick me up.
Make memories. Don't hole up in your room. Don't put all your focus to your phone. Don't pull away from the experiences happening all around you. Take every hour as an opportunity to make memories and connections. This is a life goal. I never want to look back on something and say I missed it because I wasn't open to the experience. I want to look back and say I have great memories because of the experience. Memories shape who we are. They make us better. And they help us grow. The memories from yesterday will help launch us towards tomorrow.
Email after. This is one I live and swear by. After all the friendships and connections, the business cards, and the memories - look back and think of the people that really stood out to you. Email them! Relationships do not have to end just because you are not in the same place. Let people know that you appreciated them and you appreciated the opportunity to meet them. And who knows, maybe they felt the same way - the start of a beautiful new friendship. But never pass an opportunity to continue a connection that you felt really great about.
So those are the things that I learned at ALT this year. About me and about how to enjoy every single moment of a conference. The classes were wonderful, the presenters were a wealth of knowledge, the swag was spot on, the rountables were informative and educational - but what I walked away with wasn't an incredible business plan. It was an incredible life plan. And I can't wait to grow and develop from those moments.