As I type this I’ve just finished packing to fly to Thailand in less than 24 hours. I’m excited! I’m thrilled! I’m honored to have been chosen to speak. And I’m a little terrified of the amount of time I will spend on airplanes in the next two weeks, if I’m being honest with you.
But..It will all be SO worth it!
I’m excited to share this journey with all of you over social media. And trust me when I say I will be taking many, many photos (and submitting them to the WordPress Photo Directory). You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram for pics of travel, Thailand, and the amazing people that make up the WordPress community.
There are a few things I want to share about WordCamp Asia, attending WordCamps, and making the most of every minute.
For First-time Attendees
If this is your first time attending a large WordCamp you may feel overwhelmed at first. After all, this is a massive industry event that you’ve never attended, in a city you’ve probably never been to, with people you most likely have never met before. However, all of that disappears once you’re immersed in the collaborative, one-of-a-kind atmosphere that WordCamp has to offer.
Each WordCamp is different based on the speakers, organizers, and location. You can expect to learn lots of valuable information in a short timeframe. And this is the first WordCamp Asia – so there will be a lot of firsts for all of us!
While speaker topics and workshops will cover a wide range of topics, most of WordCamp is dedicated to all things WordPress from the software and development to blogging and community.
Find the topics you want to attend and make notes in your calendar so you won’t miss them. You can find the full schedule here.
And if you’re attending in person, consider coming to Contributor Day. No matter what you do with WordPress (from beginner to seasoned user) there will be something for you to do and contribute to.
Volunteers will be everywhere and more than willing to help you with whatever it is you need. They will help you find what you’re looking for, and navigate any special needs you have.
Network Like Crazy
One of my favorite things about WordCamp is meeting people. Whether I know them online or have never encountered them before, meeting the community is exhillarating to me. And WordCamp Asia means I get to meet so many people who I only know on my screen – to shake hands, hug, or wave. (I’m a hugger, but I respect that many are not.)
One of the things I like to do is look at the Attendee List in advance to make sure I know the specific people I’m looking to connect with when I get there.
I also try not to sit and eat with the same people at every meal. You get to hang out with more people that way. 🙂
Make Room for Others
It’s easy to circle up and talk to people we know. It’s hard for new community members to feel welcomed when all they see are the backs of others. So always remember to leave room for others. This is often referred to as the “Pac Man Concept.”
It’s simple. Just like a Pac Man is an incomplete circle (like a pie or cake with a piece missing), when you’re standing in a group, leave space for others to join you! And as the circle closes up with new people, take a step backward and open more space. It’s amazing how inviting this is to new people or those who may be more on the shy/introverted side.
Want to be even more open and inviting? Try these tips:
- Make eye contact with others. This opens you up to be approachable.
- Be on the lookout for anyone that seems to be standing alone and looking alone. Invite them to join your group.
- Make space for others.
- Be aware of those around you.
- Shy? Don’t be! Look for open groups who are giving you an opportunity to join and then listen in and join in the conversation!
In addition to what I’ll be posting, follow along on social media and join the conversation with the event hashtag #WCAsia. It’s a great way to participate in the WordCamp whether you’re attending in person or virtually.
Thank the People Who Make It Happen
WordCamps are run by volunteers. Volunteers who put in hundreds of hours to make sure the event runs as smoothly as possible. Make sure you take a moment to thank anyone in a volunteer or organizer shirt. They’ve put in a ton of work and deserve ALL the recognition. And if you like a talk you’ve listened to, give a shoutout on social to the speaker.
If you’re attending WC Asia, I’d love to say hello to you. If you see me, stop over for a selfie! Post it to Twitter with the hashtag #MichelleAndMe and tag me in it! I’ll donate $5 for every individual selfie (up to $500) to Big Orange Heart.
See you in Thailand!
Michelle Frechette is the Director of Community Engagement at StellarWP. She is also the Podcast Barista at WPCoffeeTalk.com, cofounder of underrepresentedintech.com, creator of wpcareerpages.com, the president of the board for BigOrangeHeart.org, Director of Community Relations and contributor at PostStatus.com, podcaster at WPMotivate, podcaster at Audacity Marketing, author, business coach, and a frequent organizer and speaker at WordPress events. Michelle lives outside of Rochester, NY where she’s an avid nature photographer. You can learn more about Michelle at meetmichelle.online.