Are you an introvert or an extrovert? I’m pretty sure that people who know me will say that I’m an extrovert. And I am…most of the time. But I know a lot of introvert people (depending on the situation, I’m one of them!) – and I know how they struggle at meeting and events where you are supposed to mingle, network, and be actively involved.
Adding to my post from last week where I discussed active involment of the participants in a conference and how the delegates might not be as keen on it as us meeting planners, I have a few tips for the meeting planner when dealing with introverts.
First of all, I will repeat that it is all about knowing your audience. And if you know that you are dealing with a lot of introverts, it is important that you accomodate them when planning active involvement. It is possible to plan activities that do not require presentations in front of the whole group, being put on the spot, or too many fast changes to the program (introverts are usually more reflective than extroverts).
However, there are things that you can do to make your event more agreeable for the introverts. For example, you need to make sure that there is downtime in the program in order to accommodate the introverts’ need for reflection time. The extroverts won’t be bored, they will just find someone to talk to in the meantime.
You can also make it easy for the prospective participant to know if he/she knows who is attending by showing the list of participants on your website or by adding the possibility of interacting in advance on social media. Most people feel more comfortable if they know other delegates.
Last, but not least, it is very important for both us meeting planners and the introverts to understand that is is completely OK to say no thanks to teambuilding, coffee dates, networking sessions…to joining the ’fun’!
How do you accomodate the needs of your participants?