The Introvert’s Survival Guide for Inman Connect NYC
Hello, my fellow introverts. Conference season is nearly upon us once again, starting with Inman Connect NYC. If you’re anything like me, this brings emotions of eager anticipation tinged with absolute dread because…people…and groups…and conversations about nothing…and…and…and…
:: takes a deep breath:: ::reaches for a glass of wine::
As this is my eleventieth or so Inman conference, I’ve learned a few tricks to prevent being completely overwhelmed and anti-social for the entirety of the conference (and afterward):
You are Entitled to Take Time for Yourself
Usually, Inman Connect leaves me feeling energized…and exhausted. I have so many ideas floating away in my head that, coupled with extreme sleep deprivation and all that energy used for meeting and talking with people, I’ll often wish I could spirit away to a cave for a week afterward. One thing I’ve found that really helps me is to carve out an hour or two every morning and every evening for myself in my room. Yes, I have a slight FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) on parties, cocktail shenanigans, and conversations over coffee, but I’ve found I’m a much more palatable human being if I get some alone time every day to sort, process and recover from all the goodness Inman Connect delivers.
Arm Yourself Beforehand With Questions
If you’re anything like me, you have an issue with small talk. There’s only so many conversations about the weather I can take before I’m looking for an escape hatch. One of the beauties of Inman Connect is making connections, though, so you’ll really want to be part of the conversations happening in the hallways, lobbies and bars. Come pre-armed with questions you have about the conference and about people you want to meet. And yes, you should research beforehand some of the attendees and speakers, as well as the sessions you definitely shouldn’t miss. As an Inman Ambassador, I’d be happy to try and get you in touch with anyone you’re dying to meet!
What’s your favorite part of Inman Connect so far?
Where should I eat/drink in New York City?
What’s your favorite app/technology and why?
If I could meet anybody or any company here, who is it and why?
What’s your big business goal for 2017?
Watch Your Body Language
I have a bad habit of seeming standoffish in big groups at conferences, and it usually comes down to my body language and my facial expressions. It’s only that I’m a bit uncomfortable around a lot of people, but it sometimes gets communicated as, “I don’t want to talk to you.” It’s something I work on, and the perfect place is at Inman Connect. I plant a big smile on my face, straighten my shoulders, look people in the eye and extend my hand for a handshake (or a hug) whenever I can. I also try to take advantage of practicing on the vendors in Startup Alley and the Exhibitors Hall. I enjoy hearing people’s stories about why they created their product and how they believe it’ll help our industry, and it’s good one-on-one time!
Find Your Fellow Introverts
Sadly, there won’t be stickers or specific-colored buttons indicating who’s who in the zoo, but I think we can usually identify the extroverts straight away. Introverts tend to cluster toward walls and corners, and usually away from bright lights and sounds. It’s easy to strike up a conversation with someone who’s next to you in a non-threatening way, but remember it requires you looking up from your phone or tablet first. If you find me (Inman Ambassador!), I’m happy to have a chat with you and introduce you to people for one-on-one conversations.
Plan Something Nice for Yourself as a Reward
It could be a dinner reservation, yummy baked goods, tickets to a Broadway play, ice skating on one of the local rinks, a visit to Strand Bookstore, or a stroll through Central Park, but planning something that’s not conference-related gives you something to look forward to and something you know will give you a greater appreciation for where you’re visiting. A lot of times we fly/train/drive in, attend the conference and leave, without actually absorbing what’s around us. Take a breath, plan some time, and explore some of the great things NYC has to offer introverts before you leave. You’ll appreciate the conference break, and you’ll get to recharge along the way.
If you’ve decided to attend ICNY in January 2017, first of all HOORAY! I can’t wait to meet you. In a quiet place. One-on-one. Without small talk. You can save money on your ticket by using the code “tara” (without quotes, all lower-case).