Large events, particularly if there are lots of people you don’t know, can be scary! So many people! Lots of noise! Here's a survival guide!
I recently attended TBNS for the second time. Apparently, 1400 people were booked to attend this year (!)
As an introvert, I took some persuading to attend last time... Second time round, knowing what to expect and knowing what works for me, I was better prepared...
Here are 6 tips from me for surviving TBNS (or other large events) if you’re an introvert…
Introverted or not, you can’t possibly meet, talk to everybody and/or listen to all the speakers at an event like TBNS. In the comfort of your own home/office, ahead of time, choose who you want to listen to through the day. Even in a big auditorium, unless you’re the speaker(!), you can just relax and listen and focus on the person on the stage.
Large events can be exhausting for anyone. As an introvert, being around lots of other people all day will seriously drain your batteries! - you may need to eat and drink more than normal. Make sure you get a good breakfast.
I had a quiet pre-breakfast meeting breakfast alone at my hotel before heading to the very busy breakfast meeting at the start of TBNS... Take plenty of healthy snacks and keep hydrated through the day.
Don’t worry about the 1400 people that are there. Focus on the one or two that you are talking to at any one time. Introverts can make great listeners - use that to your advantage!
Listening can be exhausting! Take time out. At lunchtime, find somewhere where you are comfortable to have a bit of a breather - outside in the fresh air (weather permitting), or in a quiet corner.
I find that I need to get outside, breathe in fresh air, notice the sky, feel the warmth of the sun or a breeze, reconnect with nature.
Don’t feel guilty if you need time away from the crowd or if you just want to retreat into your online world and check on all the alerts that have flashed up on your phone.
If you can/need to, take a break alone - in your room/car/the loo (if all else fails!) before joining people at the bar for post-event drinks.
If you can face another crowd… I’d say, do go to the post-event drinks/curry. I love learning about people by listening and observing - and you never know, there may be other introverts there who’d love a quiet chat too (if they’ve made it back out of the loo)!
Travelling from the event alone (or with one carefully-chosen other to enjoy an extended 1:1), can give you some valuable recovery/processing time before rejoining your family - who may have all sorts of things lined up for you to help with once you get home!
Understand what you need. Set your goals for what you want to achieve from the event and be realistic in your expectations of yourself and of the day...
A handful of good connections, a couple of in-depth conversations, some great talks and entertainment add up to a great day!
Bring on TBNS 2018!