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I attended a one-day conference for work this past week. I love to learn, but as an introvert I don’t always feel that the format of the conference suits me well. Sometime in the future I will put on a conference just for introverts, designed by introverts.
Lisa Petrilli wrote a great article “How to Design a Conference Introverts will Love”. She gives 7 tips, but I am going to focus on just one of these. She suggests that smaller tables work best for introverts with groups of 2-4, rather than the usual tables of 8-10.
“Small groups make it easier for introverts to stay in their comfort zone of ideas. It’s easier to share ideas at a small table with four other people than at the typical table you find in a hotel ballroom that’s designed for a wedding dinner with 10 people per table. In that type of setting, conversations are not easily facilitated with the whole table, and thus tend to break down, limiting the value.” tweet
This was exactly the main drawback for this conference. The tables were for ten and there was a lot of planned table discussion. As introverts, we like to get to know the others we are sharing ideas with. This is very difficult to do with a large table in a loud room. Small tables with less people and less shouting distance sounds very appealing to me.
So how do we put this concept and many other introvert friendly concepts into action? Let’s be more involved in creating and also planning conferences. Let’s give the feedback before and after the conference letting the organizers know what works well and what does not. Let’s not accept the status quo, but put our needs and desires out there.
About half of the population are introverts. When conferences don’t cater to the needs of introverts, introverts are less likely to participate with groups or contribute their well-thought-out ideas and insights. Let’s make conferences better for everyone by making sure they are designed to meet the needs of all the attendees.