An Introvert’s Take on Meetings & Events

Shrinking Violets Can Bloom, Too!

Wow, what an exciting month this is – I’m preparing to attend one of the most revered industry events of the year!  It’s an incredible opportunity where I’ll be exposed to a variety of educational topics, immersed in event design trends, and have an unparalleled opportunity to sample delicious cuisine and rub elbows with respected industry professionals.  I’m so excited!

And – I’m tired just thinking about it.  You see, even though face-to-face meetings and gatherings are my passion, attending events can sometimes sap my energy.  And many who call the hospitality industry ‘home’ express the same feeling.  We’re not shy or anti-social, far from it, we’re actually introverted extroverts.

Our view during most events is from the sidelines.  Literally.  Planning, doing, organizing, facilitating, dispatching, advancing.  We’re professional wallflowers (albeit smart, savvy, observant wallflowers!).  It’s our business to make sure the spotlight shines on others and their objectives.  If our clients and attendees aren’t sharing moments, experiences and information, then we haven’t been successful at our jobs.  People aren’t supposed to see us.  For some, it may seem tedious or draining being on the sidelines, yet that’s a comfortable spot for an “introverted extrovert” like me.

group of confident professional employees in a serious meeting from aboveWhat’s that, you ask?  You may be thinking introverts are quiet and shy, while extroverts are exuberant and confident.  Turns out, that’s not quite how it works. It’s all about how you nourish your spirit, feed your soul, and recharge your personal batteries.

Extroverts recharge by being around other people in social settings.  They crave the company of others; interactions are the fuel that keeps them moving.

Introverts recharge and nourish their brains by spending time alone and reviewing their thoughts.  They’re energized by this ‘quiet time.’

Most of us fall in the middle somewhere, at our best with a personalized mix of social and quiet time.  The key is to practice what William Shakespeare said best: “to thine own self be true”, and recharge in the way that’s best for your brain.

For me, that means I truly enjoy being around other people, exploring new ideas, and engaging with thought leaders.  And I’m invigorated by a few quiet moments of solitude throughout the day.  Here are a few other things introverted extroverts like me can try at social events to keep from wilting.

  • Exercise is a terrific way to have some alone time with your thoughts.  But anyone who knows me knows I don’t often make it to the gym (OK; seldom.  All right…hardly ever).  So I go for a quick walk around the block or take the stairs to the next function.
  • Do your best to be on time.  It stresses me out when I’m running late, and this makes my brain go through fuel like my grandpa’s Ford Model A leaving a trail of black smoke.
  • Be happy.  Choose your attitude; acknowledge your gratitude.
  • Add water and nutrients.  A glass or two of a favorite beverage may seem encouraging, but any more than that and it may have the opposite effect!
  • Take a break during big social events.  Just a few moments of solitude and fresh air and you’ll jump back in, good as new.
  • Start small.  Small talk leads to bigger, rejuvenating communications.  Curiosity is a common trait of introverts; have a few “go to” questions to stimulate the conversation and yourself.
  • Set and re-set.  Spend a few minutes just before and after the event to define your goals and review your successes.
  • Listen up.  Be fully engaged.  Here’s a great collection from The Huffington Post on How to Be a Good Listener.
  • Get on the dance floor and shake it up!  Dancing is said to release endorphins that boost your brain.

Being aware of your energy restoration style can make a big difference in your enjoyment and success at social events.  Appreciate your unique self, embrace your inner introvert and recognize and seek out your sources of adrenaline.  Bloom where you are planted!

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