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10 Tips on How to Survive a Conference as an Introvert

10 Tips on How to Survive a Conference as an Introvert

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Introvert's tips for big events
Image from Unsplash via Priscilla-du-Preez

10 Tips on How to Survive a Conference as an Introvert

Being an introvert can mean that attending any kind of conference a huge anxiety producing time. These are the tips I have used when I’ve attended our conferences with the Forever Fierce group. I blogged about the event in 2018 but never got around to posting about our 2019 time together. Instead I thought I’d write about how I survived the event as an introvert, but then the pandemic hit and no one was getting together.
Since events are starting up again, I thought I’d share the ideas that personally make it manageable to me.

Quote of the day: “The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” Oprah Winfrey

This quote says it all. I may be a people person, but the definition of introvert that causes me to be this category of people is I need alone time to recharge. While I love to be around people, it does suck energy out of me afterwards. Yet meeting others or attending a conference can be full of learning. So by changing my attitude and having tricks, it can hopefully be done with minimal stress.

Before the Event

There are a couple of ideas you can do before you even attend the event.

1-Volunteer.
I have volunteered to help before the event by organizing certain things, or to actually help at the conference. When I’ve helped with organizing before the event, I was able to connect with some of the people and then was able to established a contact with them even before meeting them in person.
At the event, it’s nice to have a “job” so I don’t feel uncomfortable in a room of people I don’t know.

2-Bring a Friend
It’s always easier to have one person at the conference that you already know. So why not invite a friend?

3-Connect Ahead of Time
If you can’t volunteer or bring your own friend, I think it’s nice to ask one of the organizers if you can connect with one or two people beforehand. As organizers of the FierceCon event, we put this idea in place so women would know a group of women once they set foot at the conference.

4-Schedule Recharge Time
As an introvert, our alone time is what keeps us sane. So it’s important to make sure you have that time scheduled either during the event itself, or when you get home.

Tricks for an introvert
Image from Unsplash from Headway

Surviving the Conference as an Introvert

These tricks are my go to’s at the actual conference.

5-Connect with Sponsors
If there are any kind of sponsors at the event, I have learned that most of them are wonderful at engaging. I can ask a couple of questions, and they take it from there. Sure, it’s good to do this to learn about their product, but it can also be a wonderful way to feel more comfortable and not so alone.

6-Give Yourself Grace
Remember that we are only human and other people may be having the same anxiety. For me it used to stress me out that I would forget people’s names after being introduced and then wouldn’t want to even talk to them again, because of it.
Now, I feel more comfortable realizing it’s okay to ask, “I’ve forgotten, what’s you name?”

7-Force Yourself to Sit at Different Tables
As an introvert, I find it much easier to sit in the same spot/table throughout the conference. However, this isn’t always good for making the conference the best it can be.
So while I will force myself to sit at different tables, I realize that I don’t have to be the engager at the table. Either that or I have a pat question I can ask the person on either side of me.

Insider tip: Remember the people there are either introverts too or an extrovert. If they are extroverts, then they will talk your ear off with no problem. If they are introverts, then they will appreciate you are trying to get to know them.

8-Connect with one person
Most introverts are more comfortable with one on one time. So when you sit next to someone, I believe it’s worth it to try to start a conversation with them. This can enable you to have a go to person for other times at the conference. Whether it’s someone to sit with or to go to lunch with, it can be a life saver.

Fashion Ideas

As a fashion enthusiast, I had to include my fashion tips for surviving the conference also.

9-Compliment a person’s outfit
Everyone enjoys a compliment and it’s a great opening to start small talk. The key is to make the compliment more of an open ended question. For instance the compliment “I like your top.” Instead I will use the question “Where did you find that wonderful necklace?” so I can hear more about it.

10-Wear Something Unique
This is the time for you to wear something that could be complimented so #9 could happen to you. Even if you aren’t big on accessories, wearing a sentimental brooch or fun scarf can be a wonderful focal point for which others can comment.
The secret is to have a short antidotal story about the piece already in your head, so if someone does comment on it, you are ready and prepared with your reply.

Survive a conference as an Introvert

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