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Rules of engagement for Henna Conferences

By Mishelle Wade, aka The henna witch

OKAY Guys listen up! I am fresh out of teaching at the henna society conference and ready to share some of my nuggets of wisdom. The rules are… there are no rules!! However, I decided to put together some suggestions, so you can get the most out of a henna conference if you decide to go! Whether you’re a hobbyist, enthusiast or professional, here are some tips for attending a henna conference.

RESPECT cultural differences. Henna spans diverse cultures and all sorts of peoples, so please be mindful of what you say and possible religious differences or sensitivities. It can be easy to be misunderstood if there is a cultural or language barrier so explain yourself if things get a bit confused and ask respectful questions.

Be positive. No one wants to listen to a complainer drone on about their festival woes or bad clientele. It can be helpful to commiserate in a productive discussion on what sort of situations to avoid but do not rant for prolonged periods of time. Ask yourself: Am I being a good listener? Is this conversation one-sided or is it a tennis game with lots of back and forth. You do not want to be known as the Debbie downer or dreaded amongst your peers. Avoid gossip or talking negatively about others because that is an immediate turn-off. Respectfully voicing concerns or discussing cultural appropriation is another topic that is absolutely encouraged in this environment.

GO NAKED! Hehe! Okay don’t get arrested. I mean go “henna naked” as we like to say… Avoid pre-hennaing your skin in preparation for a henna event and go with lots of available space to get henna done. The best way to learn and bond with other artists is sharing and watching them work.

Go over class schedules in advance and know which ones you are interested in and plan your days out. Team up with a buddy who can attend other classes that are happening simultaneously so you can get the most out of your learning experience. Compare notes and ask questions! Now is the time.

Are you a first time teacher? Preparation is key to success. Make sure you are comfortable with the material you are covering, and have all slides and demonstrations carefully thought out. This helps avoid any floundering or dead air during class time. I went over my class material many times, practiced aloud for my dog and rehearsed the tech components to my classes. Before I teach I also attempt to get good rest, show up with a positive attitude and visualize myself presenting while I am trying to fall asleep. Always include engaging questions for your students.

Set intentions! Know what you want to get out of your conference experience. This helps you home in on your strengths and feel less regret when you walk away. Want to learn more about Bridal henna? Make sure you are interested in pursuing that clientele when you are trying to position your business. When you know where you want to go with your business or hobby, you will have the direction and intention to make the most of your experience.

Avoid overthinking. Sometimes it can be overwhelming or intimidating meeting talented artists for the first time when you have followed them online for years. We are all human beings, simply introduce yourself and tell them why you love their work! Do not be offended if someone you admire does not have the time to swap henna with you. Everyone is trying their best to relax, learn and enjoy and all people need breaks.

Refrain from talking over teachers while class is in session! This distracts students and teachers alike. It is also not the time to insert your own teaching or to interrupt with an unsolicited monologue. Teachers love engaged students and questions but going off on tangents or offering your own advice can take away precious time teachers have to present. The time to teach is when you are a teacher, or when you have a private group!

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It’s okay to step out of your comfort zone and try something new that you are not good at yet! This helps you become a better artist. No ones going to ask for their money back if you don't feel confident yet in your design. Avoid comparing yourself to other artists. Comparison is the thief of joy!

Take some time for yourself. Being in a room with a ton of folks who have a similar passion for henna can be a high energy event! Listen to your body and avoid burn out by stretching, taking time for yourself and getting good rest. I tend to try to do everything at once and end up with a tension headache from all the overstimulation. Don’t take it personally when someone needs to escape the henna orgy and have some mental health breaks!

Try not to spend too much time on one henna design or reach for perfection. This is very subjective but I like to keep my hennas on other attendees brief so I don’t tire out or end up spending all night on one henna design when there are more people to mix and mingle with. This makes sense when your trying to network with other industry professionals or just make new friends!

Finally…Have fun! Do not take yourself too seriously. Always introduce yourself to a new person and make them feel welcomed. It is really intimidating to enter into these situations as a newbie! Invite someone new to sit with you or swap henna. Be sure to connect on socials so you can keep in touch and promote each other.

Found these tips helpful? Send me a note or comment! I love hearing from my henna honeys! Email me if you'd like to hear more about my course material or inquire about me teaching at your retreat or business.

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