OMG! If you're an introvert, attending a 3-day conference where you're expected to network and bring back new relationships, contacts, and business intelligence. Looking forward to that has got to be nothing but dread. Three days of small talk and useless chit chat about the weather? God awful!
So, a few useful ideas are found here in an hbr.org essay entitled: "How Introverts Can Make the Most of Conferences" by reporter Dana Rousmaniere interviewing Susan Cain, author of "Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking"
- Take a recharge break. Take more than one. Leave the building for a change. Even for extroverts, conferencing is exhausting
- When approaching a stranger, try to land on a topic of mutual interest. That way, you don't have to talk about the weather
- Open the conversation with something that is common in the environment, like the speech just heard.
- "Relax into extroversion" when you find a topic that stimulates your curiosity. That is: extend the conversation
- Be a speaker or panel member, or submit a paper to the proceedings. If there's such an opportunity, grab it! Nothing like a little public speaker exposure... it gets easier with experience.
And, remember this, many of the people you will meet are likewise introverts looking for way to break in. So, most of whom you approach will be in your situation and looking for a connection.
In other words, it's a target-rich environment.
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