Monday, 7 October 2019

5 reasons introverts are great at conferences

I was lucky enough to head to a conference in September for my volunteer role at the high school.

A group of like-minded people who can talk this stuff all the time?

Sign me up right now!

My little introvert heart was bursting from excitement.

(When I wasn't completely freaking out about beingawayfromhomeandwhowasIsharingaroomwith)

The freakout almost won the day, when I seriously considered backing out at the last minute, but Friday morning came, I hopped on the train, and made my way into the city to attend the conference.

What is an introvert?


Google says an introvert is "a shy reticent person", but that isn't the whole truth.

While introverts can be shy (I spent many years of my childhood being labelled "shy"), what they really like is solitary time to rest and recharge. Large groups of people and having to always be on, can drain an introvert emotionally.

Introverts replenish their energy to tackle the world from being on their own.

If introverts enjoy quiet time alone, how exactly can a conference be good for them?

I was surprised when I figured this out for myself, so maybe it will excite you, too.

There's no small talk in sight.


Conferences are generally related to an area that you're interested in. Whether it's a blogging conference, or a volunteer conference, there's generally a reason everyone is there.

So introverts don't have to explain what they do to anyone, everyone who is there gets it!

Sure, there's a little bit of background chat about who you are as a person, but everyone is ready to dig into the meat of what your do and share ideas.

There's lots of learning and thinking


Introverts are deep thinkers, it's part of what makes them introverts. And learning about new things goes hand in hand with thinking (although sometimes that can be following the squirrel!)

Spending time at a conference that is aimed at an introvert's current passion is an excuse to deep dive into learning new things.

I bought 5 books while I was away at conference (although I have yet to read one of them) so that I could dive deeper into the things the speakers were teaching in my own time.


There's lots of sharing of ideas


When everyone is on the same page, it is much easier to share ideas. Being able to share the thing that lights you up with someone who gets it is inspiring for introverts.

While shyness can mean that people don't like speaking up, introversion often means people don't like speaking shallowly.

"How's the weather" discussions bore introverts, but diving into the meat of an idea and sharing learnings excites an introvert!

Doing the thing can ease the anxiety


Many introverts struggle with social anxiety. Big groups of people are scary!

But actually doing the thing can help ease that anxiety, and while doing it doesn't totally take away the anxiety of a huge group of unknown people, it can help ease it, because you're actually doing it!

There's opportunity to develop friendships


When people have come together for the same purpose, it's easy to spot a kindred spirit (or say hi to someone in the elevator who is wearing the same conference lanyard as you) and if the moment is right, spend time getting to better know those people.

And if you're really lucky, you'll come home with some new friends on your Facebook list, and a confident spring in your step.

Are you an introvert? How do you approach conferences?
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