Many attendees count networking and social engagement with others among their top reasons to come to an association’s annual meeting. This may be the only time each year that attendees get to see and catch up with mentors, colleagues, and college classmates. It’s like a yearly reunion of all their professional contacts, near and far.
For a significant percentage of your association’s members, however, all of this small talk and noisy interaction is more a source of frustration than a prime reason to attend a conference. Introverts know the benefits of networking, but find the process stressful. They really do want to connect with others. It’s just that introverts are acutely aware of the impact social interactions has on their energy level.
Conferences are inherently fraught with overwhelming situations for introverts, between the stress of travel, the frustrations in spending hours in crowded rooms with strangers, the compulsion to talk to people when they’d rather just be alone … Many may feel just like my favorite introvert, who is fond of saying, “I’m overpeopled!”
A conference app with social features allows an introvert to dip a toe in the networking waters without draining their energy reserves. These three tips can help these attendees connect with others, while protecting themselves:
- Use timeline to interact with others. Interacting with fellow attendees through digital channels is easier for many introverts. The Omnipress conference app includes a timeline that’s available only to attendees who set up a profile. That means the audience is smaller and targeted to those in the field your association serves, which adds to an introvert’s sense of comfort and ease.
- Participate in live polling. Raising a hand to vote as part of a session can be stressful for an introvert. What if the speaker calls on you? Just taking part in a poll shouldn’t be misinterpreted as an invitation to call out an introvert in front of the group. That’s the stuff nightmares are made of! Attendees can take part in a live poll anonymously with Omnipress’ Connect App. Introverts can make their voices heard, without having to speak.
- Send person-to-person messages to schedule one-on-one or small-group meetings. Engaging in conversation with one person or just a few colleagues is an introvert’s sweet spot. By using the Connect App’s person-to-person messaging, an introverted attendee can reach out to others individually and set up lunch or coffee. Contact information doesn’t even need to be exchanged! As long as both parties have a profile set up in the app, they can connect through messaging.
Some extroverts can walk into a room and strike up an interesting conversation with just about anyone. Just the mention of such seemingly brash behavior is enough to send some introverts back to their hotel rooms for an evening of room service and pay-per-view movies.
But introverts don’t have to stay home from your association’s annual meeting to avoid the stress that sometimes comes with social interactions. They simply need different tools to make connections.
Most introverts realize there is much to be gained from attending a conference, even if that means dealing with situations that drain them. When they use the conference app to network in their own way, they can take advantage of the social aspects of an annual meeting with fewer adverse consequences.