I have the opportunity through my work to attend a couple professional conferences each year. As an introvert, I generally enjoy listening to the speakers and attending the breakouts to get me started thinking about all kinds of new ideas.
Some aspects of conferences, of course, I could do without. I have been thinking of two different conferences I attended recently and the sharp contrast between the two.
At the first conference, we were given table numbers and assigned to sit at a certain table. I did not know the others at my table, which of course was the point. However, sitting at a table with strangers in a very loud room was not my idea of a good time.
The second conference was very different, as we were encouraged to sit with those from our company so we could have deeper discussion about how we could take the ideas from the conference and bring them back to our organization. I felt this was more productive and helpful, as it did allow my group to engage in meaningful discussions about the sessions we’d attended.
Conferences have many purposes, but I sometimes feel like the organizers and presenters do not accommodate for differences in personality type. While I’m sure the extroverts in the room love it, I hope I never have to rub the back of the stranger sitting next to me again. This kind of thing can be torture for the introvert.
Sometime in the future I would like to put on a conference just for introverts. While the introverts would still have to leave their offices to attend the conference, my introvert conference would encompass more deep conversations and less shallow-types of activities. See you there!