So you are an introvert at a conference...

 

By Crystal Wilson

 

First of all, from one intro to another - what the heck were you thinking?  Did you really think this was a good idea?  (I mean, of course there will be benefits, and you'll learn a lot but that will maybe come with sporadic bouts of feeling your soul being sucked out your eyeballs)

I've just gotten on the plane to head home from my first multi-day business conference and I’m feeling the need to talk this out (you know, by ignoring my seatmates and typing into my phone. That's introvert for "talk this out." )  

I was at the 2016 B Corp Champion's Retreat, and in all honesty it was fantastic, I made a few great connections (with people I already new digitally), and had a serious resurgence of hutzpah around my work to increase the B Corp movement. On one hand, for those reasons, I am super stoked and so glad I went.

On the other hand, it was 3 days full of hundreds of other humans, participatory workshops, group lunches, fancy well attended dinners, roundtable discussions...I am exhausted.  But in the midst of all those things I found some ways to make the event more manageable for me.  Here are my suggestions for not losing your introverted marbles at a conference:

  1. Read the schedule before you go, and find your happy places within it.  These might be called "breaks", or they might be options you deem "missable". Identify and make use of multiple points in a day where you can get out of there.
  2. Learn the neighbourhood.  Going outside feels good. Getting lost while you’re out there is not. Find a walking route or cafe where you can take time alone.
  3. Say no when you need to. I don't know if this is standard practice, or a sign of some B Corp awesomeness, but one of our conference rules was "take care of yourself." Do not take this lightly. If it’s not a rule at your conference, make it one. This gives you permission to say "I am spent" and take a time out.  
  4. Give yourself an extra day.  Coming home from a few people full days and jumping back into the nitty gritty work is not actually a thing.  It won't happen the way you want it to. Don't try. Plan to sit in your PJs til noon, have lunch by yourself, and go for a walk. Or whatever fills you back up. You need it. Work will wait one more day. If it won’t - Delegate.

Hopefully these are helpful, and I'd love to hear the tricks you have found helpful.  But tweet them to me (@Flow_Crystal) - because no one can talk to me until at least Sunday.