Blogging Conference Recap + 4 Tips for Overcoming Social Shyness

Last weekend I attended the Reward Style conference in Dallas, a gathering of the top 200 or so fashion bloggers. In today’s post, I am sharing my outfits, a really embarrassing moment, plus how I get over my social shyness even in intimidating situations like a gathering of elite bloggers!

Last year when I attended my first #rSthecon I admittedly was quite intimated. I was one of the newer bloggers and it seemed – like every social situation in life – everyone already had their “group.” There was the over-40 group, the 30-something moms who had been blogging alongside each for years, the cute young, 20-somethings who I assume cared nothing about meeting a boring mom like me – ha!

It’s not that anyone was rude, but you follow these bloggers that seem so outgoing and exuberant and act like they could be your best friend on social media, but then you see them in person and it’s not like that at all. Again, not rude. I just didn’t feel like people seem interested in meeting new people. (We can all relate to social situations like these, can’t we?)

So this year I decided I would keep my head down, attend the classes, and not worry so much about making a bunch of new blogger friends. (Not the best attitude, I realize, but I am also pregnant and tired so used that as an excuse, too!)

But on that first morning, a fellow blogger stopped me in my tracks with a random comment she made about the conference being a bit awkward because bloggers are mostly introverts who sit behind their computer all day.

Bingo! That’s totally me. And maybe that’s these other bloggers, too. Yes, I can “fake” being outgoing, but generally I am pretty shy. My husband doesn’t believe me, but I am! I feel way more comfortable writing behind my computer than at a cocktail party. And I guess many of these bloggers are the same way and, like most of us, just feel comfortable in the groups they’ve been doing this blogging thing with for years.

So instead of keeping things to myself, I decided to break out of my comfort zone of solitude. I introduced myself to people that I assumed might be stand-offish, because they have a zillion followers, but found the the opposite to be true – after I walked up and said hello, that is. (It’s hard to make the first move!)

I know most of y’all don’t follow a lot of other bloggers, but if you are interested here are a few I met: A Pinch of Lovely was just lovely and told me she feels isolated having just one other blogger friend in Louisiana.  Courtney Kerr was hilarious and so kind when I sheepishly went up and introduced myself. (She intimidates me!) Rachel Parcell was gracious and humble. The trio from Bishop & Holland were all so sweet and we gabbed about everything baby because Stia and I are both 21 weeks pregnant. Lauren Kay Sims was so nice when I introduced myself. Loved Natatlie Keinan and Teggy French. Of course, Alicia from The Lush List is a sweet Dallas friend already so I am glad she was there so I always had someone to talk to if I started feeling insecure! Same with San Antonio’s Busbee Style.

There were so many more that I am forgetting to mention. But bottom line: sometimes you just have to make the first move in social situations. Okay, a lot of the times. And ask yourself: what’s the worst that can happen? They are rude to you? Well, then good riddance! Move on and don’t look back.

If you get nervous about social or corporate gatherings, here are four tips that might help::

  • Tip #1: Smile, hold your shoulders back, and act like you have confidence even when you don’t.
  • Tip #2: Don’t wait for others to make the first move. Go up and introduce yourself to at least one person. 
  • Tip #3: Praise goes a long way in endearing yourself somebody and often leads into natural conversation. (“I love your dress – where did you get it”?)
  • Tip #4: Come across in a non-threatening way. Humility is key. 

On that last point, you don’t have to necessarily be overly self-deprecating. I think of Philippians 2:3: consider others more significant than yourselves. For example, in a corporate event where there might be competition (there is definitely an underlying tone of that at blogging conferences!), it’s better to downplay yourself even when you may be tempted to pump up your resume. For example, I introduced myself at the conference as a blogger than focused on etiquette and gifts, rather than an outright fashion blogger in the hopes that it came across as less threatening.

A sweet group right here! Clockwise from lower right: Busbee Style, The Middle Page Blog, Tanya Foster, The Lush List, (Unknown ?), Street Style Squad, Ms. Gold Girl, So Heather, Beautifully Seaside, A Dash of Details, and me!

The conference itself was so helpful. Yes, it has the glamour factor but it was really about learning and networking. The most helpful thing I learned (don’t laugh!) was how to organize my Gmail inbox. I know that sounds so silly, but I get inundated with emails and have never grasped how to manage them properly. I know I miss some accidentally (if I didn’t reply to your email in the past, major apologies!). I might share a few simple tricks I learned in tomorrow’s Friday Faves post. Let me know in the comment section below if you are!

I also learned how awesome the Liketoknow.it App is. If you want to know what people are wearing in an Instagram photo that has that little emblem at the bottom right (see below), just take a screenshot. If you have downloaded the app, anytime you take a screenshot you get a notification on your phone with all the direct links to the post.

I also got to meet so many great brands in meetings and in the networking hall. Major embarrassing moment? I woke up Saturday morning and realized I forgot the yellow eyelet dress (above) I was planning to wear. So I Facetimed my 10 year old and asked her to put it on our front porch and had FAVOR delivery bring it to the hotel (I know we are spoiled in Dallas!).

Anyway, I was tired and flustered and managed to walk out of the room and into my meeting with Banana Republic with the dress completely unzipped in the back. Quelle horreur! Thankfully, right after me meeting a good samaritan blogger stopped me and zipped me up. Hoping the sophisticated New York Banana Republic team didn’t notice!

Best part of the weekend? Getting to spend the night at the newly renovated Crescent Court hotel with my husband and eating a hamburger out the Shake Shack Dallas. If you are in the uptown area, it’s a fun place to eat outside!

Here are the links to all the outfits I wore if you are interested:

Cream Fringe Dress:

Yellow Dress Outfit:

Black and White Top Outfit:

 

Let me know how you get over social shyness!

 

 

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