There is something to be learned in everything you do. I think that every conference, networking thing, private meeting, event or other experience you have can provide useful information for you to learn from, even if it’s just a small tip or reinforcement of something you already knew. But there are tons of opportunities for learning triggers around us at all times — and I think it’s vital that we do our best to act on them whenever possible. If you don’t learn anything at all, then you weren’t paying attention.

This past weekend at the time, I came home each day feeling excited and full of ideas. There were a thousand thoughts racing through my head for a few hours and I really had to sit down and start processing ideas and talk them through, otherwise I was afraid I would lose all that momentum.

So here are a few things that I learned while at The Hive. And I hope that the next time you go to an event of any kind, that you are looking for new things to learn!

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  1. Bloggers need refreshment — There are times in all of our lives that we just find ourselves driving into a rut. When you are blogging day in and day out, there is a lot required of you mentally, and sometimes even physically. So heading off to conferences like this can be invaluable when you need to recharge your batteries and surround yourself with life-minded individuals. If you have an opportunity to go to a conference or even just a small networking event for those within your business niche, DO IT!
  2. Get your ideas down on paper/your computer quickly — I’ve almost always got a lot of ideas milling around in my head when it comes to blogging. But after an event like The Hive, I found my brain forming more concrete thoughts for going forward here on NOH, and some very solid plans for new features I want to try on the blog as well as. Because these events can be a bit overstimulating, I think it’s really important to start writing things down as quickly as you can in whatever format is best for you so you don’t forget anything.
  3. Public speaking takes practice — I am so thankful to have been able to be a speaker at this event and I really enjoyed it. It allowed me to meet a lot of new people and experience the conference from a rather different angle. Although I was nervous, I think I hid it fairly well, and the next time around, it should be that much easier — unless I wait a few years to do it. 😉
  4. Bring business cards — Even if you haven’t started a blog or business, bring some sort of business cards with you so that people can stay in touch. Yes Evernote Hello is awesome and a great way to get info into your phone and Evernote for the long haul — but you may not always have the time to pull out your phone and sync it with someone else. So the old fashioned business card is crucial to quickly pass someone your name, an email address and maybe a website if you have one.
  5. Keep your business cards scattered about your person/belongings — I can not tell you how many conversations I had while standing in line for food or waiting for a toilet to open up. It’s extremely useful to keep your business cards in multiple places on your body and in your purse, bag, etc. And don’t forget to offer them to people either — that’s what you brought them for, right?
  6. Think of a creative calling card & let people know about it — If you are going to an event, you might want to wear something distinctive on the first day and it never hurts to tell people what you’ll be wearing on your blog, social media pages and so on. Also, if there is a group page for the event in Facebook or elsewhere, you can let people know there was well. At The Hive, one of the attendees told everyone she would be wearing a map skirt, and when I saw her, I knew without a doubt that it was her. You might also want to bring something small and cute that you can hand out to be remembered by, like a bag of candy with your card in it, a necklace charm, earrings on your card or something crafty you make. Don’t worry about bringing enough for everyone in attendance — but bring at least 25 of them (maybe 50 if it’s more than a 2-day event) so that you can share them with others and help them remember you.
  7. If you want to meet someone, schedule a meetup with them before you go — You can exchange mobile phone numbers and try to meet up on the fly, but I almost guarantee that you’ll both get so busy and caught up in the whirlwind that is the conference that you will end up missing each other. Try to meet before the event begins or after the speeches of the day have wound down because otherwise time is really short. It also doesn’t hurt to know what the person looks like that you are trying to meet up with, so that you can at least say “hi” when you end up sitting next to each other in a presentation.

What tips do you have for those visiting conferences? What do you keep in mind when you go to an event?