Calming The Conference Jitters


If you’re attending the Alt Summit design conference next week you might be getting hit with a little bit of anxiety right about now. Kathleen, here, and I’ve been to Alt enough times now that I know the feeling. It’s like the grown-up equivalent of going to summer camp or the first day at a new school. So Alt, or otherwise, if you’re lucky enough to be going to a conference, workshop or retreat over the next weeks or months, don’t let the stress get in the way of this chance to refuel, learn, connect, and grow – you know, the reasons you registered and made the investment of your time and money in the first place!

But, you’re not alone when it comes to getting your head and heart back into the same place it was when you excitedly clicked “register.” Just earlier this week I had a blog reader email to ask for advice in dealing with pre-conference jitters. Here’s what I shared with her: 

First off, that “I-think-I-might-puke” feeling is TOTALLY normal. Everyone gets that. Even hot-shit rockstar bloggers get nervous before attending conferences. Here's what I'd do to feel more confident and less freaked out: 

1. Take time to put together your most badass wardrobe. 
Well, for me it’s badass – for you it might be vintage, chic, sophisticated, preppy, etc. But spend time figuring out what you want to wear each day and what makes you feel the best and most confident. If that includes a haircut and getting your nails done... do that too. 

2. Do some pre-introductions. 
Find other people who are going to the conference and Tweet / Facebook / email / leave blog comments to let them know that you're excited to see them there. Prep questions to ask or brainstorm some conversation starters for once you get there and run into these now acquaintances. 

3. Have three goals, and set your intentions.
• What do you want to learn while at this conference? 
• Who do you most want to see speak? 
• What kinds of conversations and connections do you want to make?

4. Know who you are and what you do. 
Have a “hello” script that you memorize. It could include: 
• Your name
• your blog / site / business + what it's about
• what you want to learn 
• and what you really love. 

So it might sound like this: 
"My name is ___________. I do _____________ and decided to come to this conference because I would love to __________. But when I'm not ___________ I really love to __________ and ___________.”

Now, that's awfully script-y but I swear it helps. Because in the moment you'll feel like a total spaz trying to say what it is you do. Or maybe that’s just me… But if you know it like the back of your hand, then you can “wing it” in the moment. I promise, you won’t sound like a robot.

5. Smile, make eye contact, and ask questions. 
Basically... you gotta make the first move. Everyone is scared and self-conscious but everyone loves a smile, eye contact, compliments, and questions about themselves. Get curious and listen to other people you meet. Take your attention off yourself and really engage with whoever you're talking to. You'll be tempted to constantly look around but challenge yourself to maintain eye contact with whoever you're talking to. 

6. Transform your anxiety into excitement. 
Anxiety and excitement feel very similar: your heart is racing, you have butterflies in your stomach, and maybe you need to pee your pants a little. The difference is in how you frame the inner dialogue. Instead of saying “Oh, I’m so nervous!” try saying “Oh, I’m so excited!” Consider times in your life when you’ve felt really nervous but were actually excited. Maybe before vacation, getting on a rollercoaster, giving birth, getting married, giving a talk or a big presentation… How did those events turn out? Awesome, I bet. So will this conference. 

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Finally, everyone is nervous. You'll find your groove quicker than you think. You're going to have some amazing conversations with some really amazing people. You'll be surprised how quickly your nerves go away once you're in it. 

Which conference, workshop, seminar, retreat are you headed to in the weeks and months ahead? Or wish you were headed to? Ha! Tell us on Facebook.

P.S. If you’re not going to Alt Summit you should check out our Braid ECourse.

Braid Method Branding for Creatives ECourse

The Braid Method Branding ECourse is for creative entrepreneurs who are ready to support themselves financially with their business, create a blog or consistent online presence, and finally turn the work they’re already doing into a digital product, package, or offering for dream customers. This branding ecourse comes with 7 learning modules in a 300+ page digital download, a workbook with 20+ branding exercises and scripts, a quarterly masterclass, and an exclusive Facebook group so you can connect with us and other students.



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