I share this list with no back story other than that I attended a conference this weekend, I am a self described introvert, and I had an amazing time. These are my tips:
#10 Look up the people who are presenting
Find a reason to be excited to go. I was really looking forward to hear from the keynote speaker about her experience, and that excitement radiated in my interactions with everyone else that day
#9 Practice your answers to awkward questions
As an introvert, I know that one question that makes me feel awkward or unsure of myself will deflate my confidence for the rest of the day as I ruminate afterwards how I could have answered that question in a million different and better ways. You don’t have to practice to the point of sounding like a robot but use this sales tactic to gain control and still be personable.
Ex. Other person: “You must really love you’re job, you’re doing what you went to school for”
You: “It’s definitely a step in the right direction, I’m really passionate about volunteering lately though, I can’t wait to hear how (presenter’s name) started her own non profit. ”
It’s called address, and pivot. Address the question asked to you, be brief, and then pivot it to something you really want to talk about. Use this when you don’t feel like talking about your relationship status, career outlook, personal life etc.
#8 Once the workshop list gets posted, figure out in advance what topics you’ll benefit from most
It saves time at the conference, and it’s a talking point with other attendees.
#7 Go alone
This one is hard, but it pushes you out of your comfort zone of going with friends you know and pushes you to meet people in the workshops, at the lunch, and throughout the whole conference. And to go with #7…
#6 Stay off your phone
You can’t meet anyone new if your face is glued to your phone the whole time!
#5 Speak with the presenters
After workshops and after keynote addresses, make it a point to speak with the presenters. Maybe there’s a group you’re interested in joining, or a volunteer opportunity, or just to express how much you enjoyed the presentation. It’s a less intimidating way to meet someone new.
#4 Write presenters information (and anyone else you meet) on the back of their business card
Don’t rely on your memory. I had a business card for a Latina networking group that I had to touch base with once I got back home to be notified about upcoming events and luckily I remembered to write on the back of the business card to do so. When I pulled the cards the next day I couldn’t remember for sure which card belonged to who, but thankfully my Saturday self was looking out for my Sunday self.
#3 Wear something that fits your personality and the dress code for the event
The thing about introverts is that we get drained after interacting with people for too long without moments to recharge by ourselves. To maintain your energy the whole day it helps if you also feel comfortable. I decided to go with a leather pencil skirt, a chunky heel, and a t-shirt (Similar to my “Put Together Casual” look here) It looked polished but it was also comfortable and I looked like myself. It made a difference, I promise.
#2 Take Deodorant
It was hawt. I was nervous. It was hidden in my massive bag. Comfortable. Confidence. ‘Nuff said.
#1 Don’t forget to follow-up with the people you met!
The whole point of a conference is to network. Reintroduce yourself to the new people you met via email, reconnect with friends you saw at the conference. Ideally you would want to do it 1-3 days after the conference to still be top of mind. And then keep those lines of communication open.
That’s it. That’s all I have. Go forth and network my happy fellow introverts.