So my Mom and I went to a 5-day conference last April called Craftcation in Ventura California, it was so much fun but being an introvert at a place meant for social activity and networking can be kind of exhausting. So here are some of my tips for introverts at conferences!
1. Your hotel room is your best friend!
Whether too many people tried to talk to you or you feel a bit overwhelmed by being at the conference you’ve been waiting to go to for months, you can always catch your breath and rest in between classes and workshops in your hotel room. Your hotel room can be a real sanctuary for some alone time to recharge before going to class. I don’t know how many times I stopped by my room for some peace and quiet (and a little crafting) before heading back out into the social seas of Craftcation.
2. Get socialization out of the way first
A conference is a very social setting and a great chance to network and make connections and friends. This can be very stressful and exhausting for an introvert, so my tip is to get it out of the way first. One of the first things I did when I got to craftcation was go to a social meetup for introverts and first-timers. I got a good four or five conversations in and I didn’t feel guilty about keeping to myself for the rest of the conference. So get it out of the way first and then you don’t have to worry about missing an opportunity to network. That way you can get the best of both worlds.
3. Cell Phones can be a great crutch
A lot of introverts use phones as crutches so they don’t have to talk to people and to look busy, personally, I do it all the time. While most people would say they are too enveloped in their phone, it is actually encouraged at conferences! If you are waiting for a class to start you can just whip out your phone, and start posting to social media and no one will think you are rude. In fact, most conferences have a hashtag that they encourage you to use so everyone can see the pictures! The one for the craftcation we attended was #craftcation18 and I posted most of the pictures on Instagram while trying to wait for a class without talking to people.
4. Go with someone
Of course, I’m not trying to say that an introvert can’t go alone but it is a lot easier especially when you’re with a socialite who can pick up most of the slack in a conversation. As I mentioned before I went to craftcation with my mom and while she’s not super social, she is far from an introvert and she helped a lot by taking the brunt of the conversation all while still referring to me and keeping me in the conversation without making me talk. I realize not everyone can go to a conference with my amazing mom, however, it is usually a good idea to bring someone along so you can get out of a particularly exhausting conversation if the need arises.
5. Have fun
I know this sounds extraordinarily cliche but I mean it, try to focus on going to classes that excite you and conversations won’t seem so tiring. I went to Amy Tan’s class on travelers notebooks and I was so excited I spoke to almost everyone at my table and it didn’t feel that exhausting since I was having so much fun with what we were making!
With these tips in mind, I hope your next conference is as fun as Craftcation was for my Mom and me! Do you guys have any other tips for introverts that I didn’t add? Let me know in the comments!
Elena Jacobson is a full-time student with a busy schedule, but in her free time, she is knitting, post-crossing, reading, writing to pen-pals, and she has volunteered to help train dogs in obedience.