By their very nature, face-to-face events tend to draw and bring out the best in people with extrovert personalities. However, as Susan Cain mentions in this now very popular TED Talk “The Power of Introverts,” introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to this world, and we need to pay attention to what they think and do.
Much of the focus in the industry lately has been on the younger generations. But introverts can belong to any generation, and if they are coming to your event for the first time, then you may need to figure out how to identify and draw out the introverts among your attendees – individuals who are attending your event to further their professional careers and have great things to contribute as well as take away, but may need some extra help to feel comfortable enough to make their participation exceed their expectations.
Before we take a deep dive into how technology can help you support these attendees, let’s first take a quick look at what introversion really means.
According to Myers & Briggs, an introvert is likely to describe themselves in these words: “I like getting my energy from dealing with the ideas, pictures, memories and reactions that are inside my head, in my inner world. I often prefer doing things alone or with one or two people I feel comfortable with.”
The key phrase here is “comfortable with.” Introverts are not necessarily shy or lacking in confidence, they just feel more at ease interacting with fewer people. In fact, their conversations and interactions tend to be more intense and meaningful since they tend to put more care and effort in them. That said, chances are that you’ll find that your team will need to work harder to engage and motivate first-time attendees who are also introverts than almost any other segment of your audience.
Here are some useful tips on how and when to put technology to use so that it can play a crucial supporting role for your team in this endeavor.
Include one or two questions asking about attendees’ networking preferences. Since first-time attendees who are also introverts are more likely to prefer speed networking and icebreaker events, being able to identify and segment them will help you customize your communications and their experience accordingly.
Welcome Email & Other Communications
Which brings us to the next stage in your interaction with them: the Welcome Email. Introverts like to know in advance what to expect as well as what is expected of them. Consider personalizing this communication to put special focus on hospitality zones, orientations, walk-throughs and speed networking events.
This audience is also likely to appreciate getting links to FAQ pages, chat features and contacts who can provide them the specific starter points they may need. Introverts often are not just good listeners, but also very good information seekers. Your team could also consider hosting brief Q&A sessions on social media in the weeks leading up to the event to help them get useful information.
Profile Set-Up Tools
Most introverts find the process of making in-person introductions with a large number of new contacts over a very short period of time overwhelming. If they can create their profile with essential demographics information, which they can then securely share with potential professional connections, it could allow them to move on with their personal narrative much faster.
For introverts, especially if they are not yet very familiar with your event, access to digital tools to make preliminary introductions and exchange messages with other participants before they travel to meet them in person can be akin to life savers. If they can leverage matchmaking features to shortlist the key people to engage with onsite, it will save them from investing precious mental energy in unproductive interactions.
Detail-oriented introverts also appreciate search and bookmarking features that assist with optimizing their itineraries ahead of time. This enables them to stay focused on their event objectives and save themselves from getting overwhelmed.
At the event venue, an optional self-guided and non-verbal check-in can set the right tone with anxious introvert attendees. They also appreciate flexible, intimate meeting spaces with access to power outlets and internet connectivity, where they can enjoy a few moments of peace and reorganize their thoughts, in a manner of speaking. A reliable mobile event app with in-built planners, reminders and feedback collectors can also be a major asset in engaging this quieter segment of your audience.
Your live events bring a diverse group of people together in the process generating new, world-changing ideas. Smart technology can assist your introvert newbies in making their invaluable contribution so they can return home feeling good about their courageous initiative to step out of their comfort zone!