Conferences are awesome. They provide the opportunity to learn something new, network, and feel connected to your partners in crime. This is critical if you work in an environment where you are located on the west coast but you need help from coworkers and suppliers from around the world.
I’m at a conference this week and I’ve had a wonderful time. Unfortunately, I’m something of an introvert. I skipped the mid-week social because I felt as if I had used all my words for the day (or, quite possibly, the week). I was completely exhausted from all the talking, connecting, and smiling I had done on Monday and Tuesday. And, yes, I went directly to the hotel, ate a quick meal by the light of the TV, and was asleep by 6 p.m.
I’m back at it today. Chatting with conference attendees, contributing to discussions, and smiling. I’m doing a couple of things differently, though, like writing this blog during one of our breaks.
Here is what I could have done (as an introvert) differently to make the first two days better:
Focus on building a relationship instead of sharing information. I should think about the fact that I will probably connect with these people soon and the strength of my connection will determine how much support I get.
Use my breaks to recharge with a quick walk around the campus. Some people recharge by chatting. I recharge with exercise, music, and being by myself.
Have some social-type questions prepared before showing up. I’m an analytical person so contributing to discussions isn’t hard. It’s harder for me to ask people about their personal lives.
If you are an introvert, how do you make the most of conferences and networking opportunities?