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5 tips for managing introvert energy at live events

2012 November 4
by joy

I’m attending a business retreat this weekend with a small, electic group of entrepreneurs. We’re going deep, facing blocks and (literally) burning them. We’re challenging the ways in which we’ve run our businesses.

This is tiring work for any entrepreneur, but as an introvert, one of my personal challenges is managing my energy at live events.

I worried about maximizing my effectiveness.

I worried about missing something important.

I worried I wouldn’t meet enough people.

The anticipation, adrenaline and intensity to maintain my energy would knock me back. Not surprisingly, I’d often get sick after returning home.

Well, it took awhile, but I finally gave myself permission to take care of myself. Self-care, what a concept, right?

Here are a few tips I’ve learned the hard way about introvert self-care and managing energy levels when I’m at a live event:

  1. Have a nice place to retreat. I prefer a quiet room close to the venue so I can easily and comfortably hide out.
  2. If my hotel room isn’t close to the venue, I scout out parks, churches, libraries, museums, bookstores and other quiet corners where I can take a break. This is easier than you think. Getting out of the event space, or “getting some fresh air” can make the difference between making it the whole time or burning out at the end of the first day.
  3. I review the schedule and see where I can create spaciousness for myself to have a quiet moment. If it’s a large conference, you have permission not to attend every minute of it. You have permission not to “work it” every second you are there. I find I’m more present at the portions I do choose to attend, and at the same time relieved I’m not expending energy on things which aren’t as valuable to me. In a more intimate setting, it’s harder to bow out of a particular session. Take advantage of breaks. If you do miss something, you can use it as a conversation starter, “Hi, I missed So-and-so’s presentation. What did you think? What did you get out of it?” Anything more sensational will generate buzz. Listen and you’ll pick it up.
  4. I’m selective about who I agree to meet and when. I do pre-conference sleuthing and find out who is attending. I’ll make initial connections via email or social media. Anyone attending live events knows at some level there won’t be enough time to meet everyone. This limitation can work for us introverts. People miss seeing each other all the time at gatherings. So, you have permission to connect with as few or as many people as you want. You have permission not to attend all social events without guilt. I let myself stay open to spontaneous gatherings, depending on who I meet. That said, I opt out and wish everyone a great time and follow up later.
  5. As much as I would like to plan and prepare, ultimately, I need to stop and check in with my personal energy barometer. Do I need a short respite? Or is it time to call it a day? How can I take care of this? Not listening to calls for rest costs me so much more later. Acknowledge what you need, whether you end up pushing through, take a few moments for yourself, or head back to your retreat.
13 Responses Post a comment
  1. November 9, 2012

    I love that you use missing a presentation as a conversation starter. That’s brilliant and doesn’t seem at all like you’re fishing for something to stay. It also give the other conference attendee(s) a chance to be helpful which may brighten their day.

    Win/Win

    Best,

    Shelley

    • November 12, 2012

      Hi Shelley! I’m so glad you pointed that out. It’s something I use all the time to start conversations. I hadn’t thought about it as being a way to give people a change to be helpful. Love the thought of it being win/win! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. November 9, 2012

    Brilliant, Joy! And thanks for representing for us introverts… 😉

    I love the notion of giving myself permission to take care of myself and decide how I will show up and who I connect with. I have definitely gotten into the habit of trying to operate like an extrovert at live events and I always end up paying a pretty high price.

    Thanks for giving me permission to give myself permission!

    Kim

    • November 12, 2012

      Thanks, Kim! After far too many years of thinking I need to be someone else, I started experimenting with “What do I need right now?” Most of the time, just stepping outside or having a little recovery time helps me be more present. And yes, I end up paying a pretty high price later if I don’t listen.

      I’m happy that the post resonated with you. Thank you for stopping by!

  3. November 11, 2012

    I thought of a question that may be worth exploring….keep-in-touch strategies who hate being on the telephone.

    • November 12, 2012

      Hey Adam! Ooh, that’s a good idea to explore. Thanks for the suggestion and for stopping by!

  4. November 13, 2012

    Thanks so much for sharing this!
    YOU have a huge message to share because so many people feel like they are ‘defective’ somehow if they have introverted energy.

    Yet you liberate and give tips for how to manage and own your magic.

    Well done!!!

    • November 14, 2012

      Aw, thanks for the encouragement and support, Therese! Thank you for taking the time to stop by.

  5. Yvonne permalink
    November 16, 2012

    This is so refreshing to see on a page for entrepreneurs who are emerging into their full potential. Acknowleding that my full potential is so different from someone who is an extravert in situations such as these, is so necessary to be fully engaged and grateful for being there in our own way. Thank you for sharing.

    • November 16, 2012

      I’m glad this resonated with you. It is possible to be part of a live event and not get completely drained, but I find I have to be fully present and listen to my own needs. Thank you for commenting!

  6. May 20, 2013

    Joy – I am loving your site. I am from the Writer’s Circle….

    And had to share this ancient video from a tech conference in 2008 – I was feeling the overwhelm and shared a few things as well.
    http://www.beachwalks.tv/2008/03/12/beach-walk-604-otr-swimming-at-sxsw/

    Aloha! Rox

  7. August 20, 2013

    I’m an introvert myself. And starting conversations had always been awkward in the past. lol Nice post!

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