Small talk, networking, shaking hands, and gathering business cards hand-over-fist comes more easily to extroverts, while introverts usually find these activities draining.
Where extroverts are energized by the release of dopamine ”the feel-good chemical released during rewarding activities such as parties and meeting new people”, introverts are drained by a dopamine release.
This is why introverts seek out solitary, low-key activities that release acetylcholine, a brain chemical responsible for a pleasant, contented feeling. The introvert’s need for alone-time and decompression is the reason for the common misconception that they’re shy, insecure, or anti-social.
So, how do we make attendees with more introverted personalities comfortable and engaged? Let’s explore some tips:
- Consider different personality types from the beginning
When planning for an all inclusive event, don’t just go through obvious details like age and gender, but also whether they’re right or left brained, programmers, creatives, shy, partiers, etc.
We are aware that any event’s experience needs to be customised to the attendees’ two or three primary characteristics. You can’t please everyone, but you can try to make everyone comfortable.
- Give attendees an idea of what to expect in advance
You can send out the invites along with the agenda 30-45 days prior for smaller events, and about 3 months in advance for larger events. This is really cleverly done so as to not give people too much time to consider whether or not to go and to generate a sense of urgency or excitement, but also to give them enough time to accommodate other commitments.
Inform them of any open networking opportunities, whether food and drinks will be served, whether any preparation is necessary on their part, whether there will be any giveaways of prizes or group activities, and so on. This gives the participant a very clear idea of what to anticipate, leaving little space for surprises that can make them uneasy or unintentionally exclude them in any way.
Introverts prefer getting their bearings without having to ask for help, as much as possible. Facilitate easy event navigation with well-placed signage by check-in areas, communal spaces, and restrooms.
Clearly mark the location and timing of speeches, working sessions, panels, and breaks for refreshments and food. A detailed welcome packet or event app that includes the above information and an event map is particularly reassuring to introverted guests.
- Assign your staff to be ‘engagers’
Assign some of your event staff to be ‘engagers’ or ‘greeters’ where their task is to greet attendees and work the crowd. Have them look out for shy introverts and introduce them to others or get them involved in conversations.
How do you recognize introverts? They might be the ones enjoying the food on their own or are the life of a party. What?
Yes, it’s not an easy recognising them! However, while registering guests you could have an option for introverts to wear a sort of sticker or badge that only organizers can recognize. Eg green meaning “Yes, I’m ready to mingle” or Blue “I’d like some alone time, please”.
- Create intimate spaces
If you’re hosting larger scale events, consider creating smaller rooms for breakout or group sessions. It can be intimidating for introverts to talk in front of a big audience so by creating smaller, more intimate spaces, it’ll help them feel more at ease -sort of like a conversation with friends and less like a presentation in front of strangers.
Set up multiple refreshment stations around large-scale events so introverted guests don’t have to cross a massive room of shoulder-to-shoulder people to get a snack. With several options to choose from, introverts can enjoy all of the amenities without stress.
Offer places to unwind, and clear opportunities to take advantage of them. Regular breaks provide time to reflect and recharge. Spaces with dim lights and comfortable seating are ideal for quiet contemplation or one-on-one conversations.
- Be intentional with seating
You can use long mess hall-style tables for a relaxed feel, or round tables to foster more conversations. You can also do assigned seating because this way you can pair introverts with extroverts, which might incline introverts to speak up.
Which tips will you use in your event next time? Share with us below!
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