I thought attending conferences as an introvert was a NO-GO for me until a friend invited me to SPEAK… YIKES! But I couldn’t say no. And I learned some tricks on how to survive conferences as an introvert that I want to pass on to you…
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Surviving Conferences as an Introvert
Believe it or not, I identify as a total introvert. And when I first started this business and I started to realize there was this sort of hidden underground phenomenon thing happening called going to conferences, where you talk to real people in person. I was a little freaked out. And no, it’s not a secret underground thing, but that’s kind of how it feels when you’re just getting started. You’re just entering this space, and you didn’t know this was a thing that existed. You don’t know what you don’t know, right?
How do you survive a conference if you’re an introvert?
For a while, I wrote it off as something like, this is not that important. I don’t have to do that. Then, I had a friend organizing a conference, and she asked me to speak. I can’t say no to that great opportunity. But then, I learned some things at that very first conference about going to conferences as an introvert. I applied what I learned at all of the other conferences that I’ve been to since then.
I want to share them with you, because you may not be used to going outside your comfort zone, you’re used to creating content in your own house and your element. Especially if you are a mother or a parent in a family where your family depends on you, why would you just leave for three to five days? It’s a pretty big inconvenience for everyone else, even if you think it sounds wonderful to leave for a few days. There are a lot of barriers that you will need to get over. With that, I want to share my exact method for surviving conferences as an introvert. These are real things that you can do. I’m not just blowing smoke. These are real tactics here.
1. Pretend to Be an Extrovert
First of all, I think you have to realize that almost everyone else there feels just as uncomfortable as you do. If you look around, you’ll notice people standing alone, sitting alone, or with their faces on their phones. They’re pretending like they’re doing something important, but they’re just putting off having to talk to people. And so what I started doing, and it’s going to sound crazy if you’re an introvert, is pretending to be an extrovert. I literally would walk into a conference room or like in the lobby space where you have to register and get your tag and stuff.
I asked myself, what would I do if I was an extrovert? What if I was not shy and introverted? The answer I came up with was to introduce myself. I would just put out my right-hand high and say, “My name is Meredith!” That’s it. That’s all you have to do. “Hi, my name is…,” and just shake somebody’s hand.
When I started doing that, I noticed I could visibly see a sense of relief in the person’s face I was talking to. Because they didn’t want to be the ones to start a conversation because they were feeling the same way I was feeling. They felt so relieved that someone was walking up to them and talking to them. So it’s easy. You just put out your hand, and you say, “Hi, I’m Meredith.” But of course you would use your name, not mine.
2. Ask People About Their Business/Niche
Realizing that everyone else is also really uncomfortable, here’s the next thing you’ll do. This is a hack that works anywhere, not just at conferences. People love to talk about themselves. And especially if you’re at a conference for content creators, video creators, and vloggers.
Any kind of business conference. People love to talk about what they do. They love to talk about their business, their channel, and their niche. And so all you have to do is ask them about it. At a business or content creation conference, it’s so easy because all you have to do is say, “What is your niche?” “What is your channel?” “What do you create content about?” They will start talking.
I’m laughing because it’s silly that this has to be a hack. But I’m telling you, for me, in my brain, I have to think these things through ahead of time to convince myself that I can do this. I can talk to people. I can leave my hotel room. I’m going to be okay. If I feel that way, you probably feel that way as well.
3. Prepare to Answer Questions That Others May Ask You
Now here’s one tricky part, and this would be my third tip. This is for when they ask you about your channel or your business. You know that moment in dirty dancing where Johnny’s cousin, I can’t remember his name. He introduces her to Johnny, and then she says, “I carried a watermelon.” Then later, she’s like, “I carried a watermelon? Why did I say that?”
It is so relatable as an introvert at a conference. It takes some getting used to being prepared for what to say. Of course, you know what you create content about. But have you ever had to actually answer that question out loud? If you still need to, then start practicing now. Otherwise, I’m telling you, at that moment, you will completely forget what you create content about and just start bumbling anything that comes out of your mouth that comes to mind. No one’s looking for a pitch. “Oh, I make videos about X, Y, and Z.” It can be that simple.
4. Prepare Some Conversation Starters Beforehand
This kind of sounds like an introvert’s guide to having conversations. This last tip is something other than something introvert-related. But I like to go to a conference with some questions prepared in my mind beforehand about what I want to get out of the conference.
So maybe I’m struggling with something related to my business or my channel, and so the conversations that I’m going to start with people might be asking them, “How do you handle this?” or “What did you do to overcome that?” Maybe you’re looking to connect with people in the same niche as you, or you’re looking to create a peer mastermind, an accountability group, or something. It helps to have a goal and kind of mission for attending this conference.
Conclusion on How to Survive Conferences as an Introvert
Before I end this blog, I want to let you know that I will be at the Women of Video conference in March 2023 in Atlanta. This may be one of the first times that you’re going to have people all in one room, on stage speaking to you from a relatable place.
I’ll be speaking along with a whole bunch of extremely talented people that you probably subscribe to on their channels, like Jessica Stansberry, Dr. Shemeka Dean, Marissa Ramiro, Melissa Hunter, Millie, Diana, and Tiffany, me, XayLi, Selma, Austen, Natalee Nina, Erika, Jaimie. All in one place together. That conference is in Atlanta, March 11-12th, 2023.
I can tell you, as someone who lives in the Eastern time zone, I love it when I have a conference to go to in the Eastern time zone. Plus, Atlanta is really easy to get to. Here is the link so you can grab a ticket to that. We could meet in person. We can hang out, and then you can let me know your tips for surviving conferences as an introvert so that I can add them to my repertoire.
I’m just one person with my perspective and experience. I’m sure there are more tips and hacks for surviving conferences as an introvert. If you plan to be at the Women of Video conference in Atlanta, let me know so we can connect. I’m very picky about the conferences that I do choose to leave my family for, and so this is one I’m excited about for 2023. I hope to see you there!