Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Confessions of an Introvert

Hybrid meetings offer a variety of benefits and not all of them relate to economics or sustainability. Finally, introverts can join an event and still stay in their most productive zone by attending remotely. You see, research suggests, introverts feel their most alive when in quieter, low key environments. In fact, the open spaces and noisy receptions designed into most conferences are designed with the extrovert not the inrtovert in mind.

Funny, I have always felt awkward at networking receptions and decided there was something wrong with me. Why don't I think walking up to a group of people and introducing myself is exciting and fun? It wasn't until I listened to this TED talk by Susan Cain http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html and then started doing my own research, that I began to understand, it is because I am a natural introvert and most events are designed for extroverts.

Another epiphany was during EventCamp Vancouver when I really thought about how much I enjoy attending virtual events, presenting webinars, and contributing to my community through social media all without being face to face. I can engage when I am at my best, in a quieter, low key environment. Apparently, half the population agrees with me.

We introverts don't distract from those attending in person, but add to the collective learning and shouldn't have to apologize for our difference in style. This has been a huge awareness for me. As I move forward in the ever evolving world of meeting management, I commit to building a place for introverts to collaborate, to connect and to assume their important role in the conference world.

If you are not considering how to enroll introverts into your conference program or event your are missing 1/3 to 1/2 of the population. New technology gives you an easy way to do just that. Take the first step and listen to Susan Cain's TED talk. Listen with the filter of conference design in mind. She says it far better then I. Then take a look at your own events and determine how you can increase (yes, I said increase) participation by including a whole group of individuals who may not already be involved.

I will finish with one of my favorite quotes by Susan, "There's zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.” Right now, we need everyone's ideas to make a difference in our world.

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