If you're an extrovert, the idea of a large gathering of people is an exciting one. Whether the group is meeting because of business or to network, spending time with others in a social situation is something that extroverts thrive on. For introverts, however, the opposite is the case. The thought of speaking up, engaging in group activities, and meeting new people can be the cause of a lot of stress or concern. So, how can you make an event introvert-friendly?
The first step to making introverts feel at home at an event is to make sure that they can contribute to conversations. If they feel left out of the conversation, or not comfortable enough with the topic to speak up, it can be negative for them. Plan some topics of conversation that you know your included introverts will be able to contribute to.
Also make sure that there are small groups for the introverts to be a part of. Even if they are totally comfortable with the conversation at hand, they are likely to feel uncomfortable addressing a large group. By keeping the groups on the small side you can guarantee that they’ll feel more at home.
Creating a safe space for your introverts is another way to make an event introvert-friendly. Make sure that there are some spaces in the room where an introvert could go to collect their thoughts. That time by themselves can often let introverts recharge and return to the group excited and ready to talk. Allowing one-on-one connections during this time is another wonderful way to make an introvert feel more at home. When they have a connection with one person they’re more likely to open up in front of the group if that person is there to be supportive.
Creating an event where introverts feel comfortable and included isn’t difficult. Common sense shows that in small groups the ability to spend time with another person – and have safe spaces to catch their breath and collect their thoughts – are all ways to make an introvert comfortable in a larger event.
Keeping the event slower-paced and avoiding “speed networking” will allow the introvert time to connect with others on a deeper and level and time to come out of their shell. Don’t feel like you have to plan an event that’s totally different to the one you’d prefer; just make small changes to make it friendly for everyone in attendance.
Silvia Pellegrini is CEO of Events Uncovered TV