Conference Attendance for Introverts

Introverts are those people who need time alone to energize. Extroverts are the people who get energized by being with others.

If you are an introvert, then going to a conference can be difficult. It’s like being on stage all day long.

Gina Trapani offers The Introverted Nerd’s Conference Survival Guide. Even if you don’t self-identify as nerd, the tips are good.

Haven’t you occasionally wanted to run from the room screaming, not because the speaker was terrible but because you were on people overload? If so, what she has to say is helpful.

One of her points is to leave room in your schedule.

If you commit to every meal, every party, every meetup, by day two you’ll want to crawl under the covers back at your hotel room and cry.

To extroverts this may seem a little extreme, but conferences can be a real pressure cooker for introverts. When I went to a conference in February, I was determined to see every single panel I could. But halfway through day two I was exhausted. I ended up only attending the rest of the panels I was desperate to hear.

What I’ve done instead of going to every panel is to plan out all the panels I want to see and then make sure I have me time.

That can mean ducking back in to the room to eat my instant oatmeal packets, but some time alone and away from everyone really helps.

Staying by myself in the hotel helps emotionally, if not financially.

What I don’t have is a conference buddy for MLA. I took one to the big conference in February and found some in March, June, and October. I guess I’ll look around and see if I find someone to pal with at MLA too.

What do you think? Does having a single person (or two) to hang with make conferences easier for introverts?

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