How Introverts Can Make the Most Out of Conferences

How Introverts Can Make the Most Out of Conferences

As some initial background all managers at the IRS receive Myers Briggs training as part of new manager training.  At the IRS I taught managerial training over 11 years to new managers.  I especially enjoyed training new managers as this helped  me to understand their perspective  and it kept me focused on the changing needs of new managers.  As a senior manager conducting the training I found it was not easy for me to step back into the shoes of a new manager, but by teaching this training and mentoring managers this helped me stay abreast of their needs.

Is it any surprise that the vast majority of new managers at the IRS tend to be introverts?  At the IRS the most common Myers Briggs personality type is an INTJ where the “I” stands for introvert.  For those wanting to know more about what these letters mean and the implications of these letters I refer you to the link above and to my book “The Servant Manager: 203 tips from the best places to work in America.”  Chapter 3 offers eleven tips associated with tuning into oneself with the vast majority focused on Myers Briggs type indicators for managers and their employees.  

If you are a strong introvert (I) or strong extrovert (E) you have very different ways in which you recharge your batteries A strong extrovert recharges his or her batteries in various ways including taking a class for example with yoga or cooking, attending and throwing parties and volunteering in a community group.   A strong introvert recharges his or her batteries by reading, gardening, drawing, painting, or hiking.  So when it comes to attending a conference this can be harder for introverts. 

I recently read an article entitled “How Introverts Can Make the Most of Conferences” from the Harvard Business Review written by Dana  Rousmaniere which inspired me to share my thoughts and what she had to say.

Some keys from her article based on an interview with Susan Cain are:

Attend conferences where you have a genuine interest in the topic so that you have something to talk to other attendees at breaks and gathering times.

Know yourself and whether you are best in the morning with coffee or in the evening with a glass of wine and work to your strengths.

If you meet with someone you truly enjoy you will enjoy learning from them.  We can learn something from everyone.

You can make a deal with yourself to meet “x” number of kindred spirits and then go back to your hotel room and watch a movie or TV, or read a book.

Go in armed with a few questions for others such as:

What do you like about the conference so far?

What did you think about what the last speaker had to say?

What do you like to do for fun?

Consider being a speaker.  If you are speaker others have something to speak with you about.  It also may help your career.  I know it has helped mine.

At some point you may need to simply state that you have to turn in, do some work yet this evening or make a similar polite exit.  That is fine to make a graceful exit.  There is no reason to feel guilty about this.  Everyone needs to call it a night at some point.

These are some of the ideas from the article.  The article hit home with me and my working with hundreds of managers as an instructor and as a mentor.  If you want to know more, check out the article and the links presented by the author.





About the author

Mike Gregory is a professional speaker, an author, and a mediator. You may contact Mike directly at and at (651) 633-5311. Mike has written 12 books (and co-authored two others) including his latest book, The Collaboration Effect: Overcoming Your Conflicts, and The Servant Manager, Business Valuations and the IRS, and Peaceful Resolutions that you may find helpful. [Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court]