5 Ways To Rock A Conference When You’re An Introvert

5 Ways to Rock a Conference as an Introvert

If you ever want to see me act completely awkward, put me at a conference with several hundred women who are changing the world with their words while I wander around trying not to get lost in the crowd. Or trying TO get lost in the crowd I never know which I would prefer!

Here’s the thing. I’m an introvert. Give me a computer screen, a keyboard, and a few minutes to put my thoughts together (with some heavy use of a backspace and several moments to stare blankly into space) and I can come across like this social ninja who has it all together.

In reality? Walking into Allume last year by myself was the single most terrifying thing that happened to me in all of 2012. I knew no one. If the conference hadn’t been 45 minutes from my house, I probably would have talked myself out of attending because of the fear of being by myself in a crowd of hundreds. And I’ll admit, while there were some fabulously amazing, life changing, God-inspired moments, there were also times when I wished I could melt into the walls. At one point I remember contemplating skipping lunch just to avoid the crowded buffet lines, or sitting and pretending to be on the phone rather than admit that I didn’t have anyone to hang out with.

If you’re an introvert and I’ll have the blessing of meeting you at Allume, I want to encourage you. We can rock a blogging conference! Here are some tricks I learned last year:

1. Show up.

This is key. You can’t rock it if you aren’t there! Can’t be there in person? You are officially in charge of keeping the Twitter party going!

2. Connect before the conference.

If this is your first time attending, join the “newbies” Facebook group. Put yourself out there online before the conference so that you already have friends you can look forward to meeting when you get there! Read the blogs of the other attendees, connect on Twitter, start putting real names to faces (you know..instead of Twitter handles..because it’s not awkward at all to only know someone by their Twitter name..ahem..). Connecting before the conference is also a great way to find roommates!

3. Do your homework.

If you’ve ever taken a DISC assessment, you’ll get what I mean when I say I’m a “high C.” Like a 99 on the scale. Mama loves her some information. So one of the things that helps me feel a little less anxious before a conference is to learn everything I can about the agenda, the speakers, the sessions, and the other attendees. Last year I even made a fabulous binder so I could remember who I wanted to meet, what sessions I wanted to go to, and where I needed to be at what time. It gives me a focus – so when I’m overwhelmed about meeting 300 women, I can take a step back and look for the women on my list first, to make the room seem a little smaller.

4. Give yourself grace.

Sometimes, it’s ok to take a break. The entire conference is going to be jam packed full of incredible information and resources. Even if you wanted to, you wouldn’t be able to be at everything. Need to leave the socializing time a little early to go grab a quiet shower and regroup? Snag a cupcake for the road and go for it. Feel God nudging you to take some quiet time for prayer? Follow His lead. It will be ok.

5. Ask questions!

Wondering if you should bring business cards? Or what to pack to wear in South Carolina in October? Or how breakout sessions will work? Ask us! Ask on these blog posts, ask on Facebook, ask on Twitter – we’re here for you. No question is too small or too silly.

Are you an introvert or an extrovert? What are your biggest concerns about going to a big conference? I’d love to answer your questions or know how to pray for you!

Crystal

Crystal’s heart is to encourage women through the written word. She is a toddler mama dedicated to her family, pursuing God Sized Dreams & her jobs as a Virtual Assistant, (in)courage Community Leader Coordinator, & Raising Generations Today team member. Follow her on Twitter at @CrystalStine.

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  • http://beautifulinhistime.com/ APRILLE {BEAUTIFULINHISTIME.CO

    Love this. This is great. I’ve been asking a ton of questions in the facebook newbie group. I’ve also started a pinterest board for great posts like these! http://pinterest.com/beautyinhistime/allume-conference-2013/

    And since you mentioned it…I would like more information about the breakout sessions. It’s so hard to pick and I’m sort of stressing out about picking the wrong thing. So how DOES it work? And is there “worship” time (like music) during the keynote sessions (is it sort of like a church service or like a regular conference session) or is it just talking?

    • http://crystalstine.me/ CRYSTAL

      Great questions Aprille :) I’ll get back to you on the worship question, since I’m not sure if that will be different this year or not :) As far as the breakouts, there is no sign up required in advance – you simply pick the one you want to go to, grab a seat (or a spot on the floor), and soak up all the goodness :) You really can’t pick the wrong thing – choose based on your passion, your interests, & where God is leading you. Plus, you’ll likely have access to all the session recordings afterward! I usually pick two in each session time – a first choice & a back up, just in case one fills up, and then I also let God lead me where He wants me over the weekend.

      • http://beautifulinhistime.com/ APRILLE {BEAUTIFULINHISTIME.CO

        Thanks for the update Crystal! I missed it the first time around!

    • http://gretchenlouise.com/ GRETCHEN LOUISE

      Oh, Aprille, I’m so glad you started a board! I’ve been pinning the tips I’ve found at http://pinterest.com/GretLouise/conference-tips/ … now I can repin all the great ones you’ve found! :)

      • http://beautifulinhistime.com/ APRILLE {BEAUTIFULINHISTIME.CO

        Glad to help!!

  • OMILY

    *grinning* I’ve actually done that pretending to talk on the phone thing ;)
    Great tips, hope to make use of them someday when I get to Allume Conference :p

  • LARA SADOWSKI

    Crystal, what a great post! I did not know that there was an FB newbie page, so I hopped over there and joined up. :-) Cannot wait to meet you – thank you for all of the hard work that you have done and continue to do for us. <

    • http://crystalstine.me/ CRYSTAL

      Oh yay! Glad you found the newbie group helpful :)

  • http://ErikaDawson.com/ ERIKA DAWSON

    I can so relate to this, Crystal! I’ve always thought that my “crawl-into-my-shell-I’d-rather-blend-into-the-crowd” inner panic was because I’m introverted — and that’s part of it — but I’ve learned that higher up on my strengths list (StrengthsFinder) is intellection, which does not mean smart ;) but rather that I need time to think, reflect, mull over, and plan my words. I used to see this as such a weakness, but I’ve found that it really can be a strength. I’m just learning how to manage the “shadow” side of it.

    Love these suggestions you’ve given, especially for many of us who are coming who feel like we don’t have deep roots but want to grow them!

    • http://crystalstine.me/ CRYSTAL

      ooh see, there’s so much to learn from those personality tests. strengths finder is on my “to do” list – would love to know what it says about me!

  • JOY B. RUDOLPH

    Crystal, I too am am introvert and last year was my first year at Allume as well. Maybe we could all wear buttons this year? Then we’d already have a tribe ;)

    PS. I’m a DISC consultant and an S/C :)

    • http://crystalstine.me/ CRYSTAL

      Oh that is too fun!

  • http://www.handmedowngrace.com/ JESSICA HOOVER

    And all the introverts said “Amen”. For a couple of introverts we sure do have a lot of fun together!

    • http://crystalstine.me/ CRYSTAL

      We sure do ;)

  • LOVELY MESSES

    Love your advice! This is my first conference ever and am a bit nervous about the whole deal, but I will just have to let God lead me through the weekend. He knows what I’m supposed to be getting out of this weekend more than I ever could!

    • http://crystalstine.me/ CRYSTAL

      You will love it so much, friend :) Looking forward to meeting you!

  • CHRISTIE ELKINS.

    I am a TOTAL introvert. I get all nervous, more Southern than normal, and brush my teeth 5x before hitting the lobby :) So, with all that being said, thanks for making me feel cool at Declare. I love you for that!

    • http://crystalstine.me/ CRYSTAL

      Um, you made ME feel cool! Also, can I just pay you to find me adorable outfits to wear to Allume? You’ve got some mad Goodwill skills!

  • ANNA RADCHENKO

    a little late getting to this post :) but here nonetheless.

    I’m an introvert most definitely. Something I learned from last year was that it’s more important to CONNECT with people rather than meet as many as you can — while I believe it’s great to meet new people and not stay in the same “comfort clutter,” you can leave feeling like you met a whole bunch of new people, exchanged introductions, learned about some new blogs, but not really CONNECTED with anyone. That kind of stinks.

    This year, I’m hoping to meet new people, yes, but I’m also hoping to connect on a deeper level with some – even just one person… hoping this connection lasts even after the conference and that long friendships are formed. :)

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