Dear IFBC Virgin…umm…I mean Newbie:
Last year, I was in your shoes. I was new to the International Food Bloggers Conference and didn’t know what to expect. Yes, I had attended other conferences put on by Zephyr, but this was my first time at the IFBC. Here’s some advice to help you look like you’ve been through this rodeo a time or two.
- Bring your portable devices. And don’t forget the chargers and cables for your electronic devices! If you have a portable power brick, bring that too. Seriously. You don’t want to be in an awesome session and not have the ability to share tidbits from those sessions because your technology is dead.
- Wine. This year, there are a fair number of events involving wine. The opening night reception on Friday night is sponsored by Maryhill Winery. On Saturday, there is a session on the pairing the sparkling wines of the Franciacorta DOCG region of Italy with food, a wine education session from Concannon Vineyard *AND* a Grand Tasting Wine Reception. My advice on the wine portion is this.
- Spit. That’s why dump buckets *should* be at every table.
- If you decide to not spit, know your limit.
- Don’t feel obliged to drink the whole sample. Again, this why the dump buckets are there.
- PLEASE! Do NOT pull a Miles from “Sideways” and drink from the dump bucket (this specific reference starts at 0:36 in the linked clip).
- Do ask questions! There’s no such thing as a stupid wine question.
- Learn the basics of wine, such as what a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Chardonnay should smell like. Wine Folly is a great, easy-to-understand guide to wine.
- Don’t discount the whole conference if you have a problem with the keynote speech. No one is ever going to agree with *everything* that a keynote speaker has to say.
- Business cards. I know. It sounds insane and old school. How else are you going to be able to get the word out about your site, though? They don’t have to be fancy.
- Social media handles. If you haven’t set these up yet, then what are you waiting for? Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the bare essentials that you should have.If you already have your SM handles set up, then I recommend a management software suite such as Hootsuite. That way, you’re not flipping back and forth between your SM channels.
- Most importantly, have fun! These conferences are all about making new connections, learning something new and, most importantly, stepping outside of our comfort zones.
An experienced Zephyr Conference attendee
Disclosure: This is one of many posts that will be coming about IFBC. In exchange for a reduced conference rate, a citizen blogger, such as myself, is asked to produce a minimum number of posts.