By EHM Feature Writer Katherine Mackenzie Smith
Let’s get one thing straight from the beginning - if an introvert buys a ticket to your event and actually turns up, it’s a big deal for them.
More introverted souls love their quiet, alone time. They like to connect with people one-on-one. They re-energise and process information internally. The idea of going to events full of strangers is possibly not the first thing they think of when deciding what to do for ‘fun’.
When we go to the effort to go to an event, there are things we’re not looking forward to when we get there. In case you run events and have never considered this, here are six things introverts dread at your events:
1. Standing up and introducing themselves
This is one of the most common and important things that happens at the start of all kinds of events. Understanding that the quieter attendees in the group will be waiting for their turn - heart pounding and wrought with worry - allows you to do something subtle, but powerful: give them a smile of encouragement.
2. Unpleasant surprises
Introverts take a little time to warm up, process information and decide how we feel about things. We don’t generally like being put on the spot or surprised (or called up from the audience).
Outlining how the event will unfold, for those who like to be in the know, and asking for volunteers instead of putting attendees on the spot can be really great ways to ease introverts into your event.
3. Getting up and moving seats as a ‘getting to know you’ exercise
Without shadow of a doubt, the seat your introverts have chosen has been carefully selected. Introverts tend to gravitate towards the edges and/or back of the room so before including seat-moving-getting-to-know-you style exercises at your events, ask yourself, “Is this necessary?” and prevent putting some of your audience offside before you’ve even started.
4. No breaks
Introverts get easily drained in big groups for extended periods of time. If your event runs for a long time, remember to factor in breaks for anyone who needs to get away - even just for a few minutes of alone time.
5. Big collaborative sessions
For workshops or more intensive events, it might seem appealing to you to have everyone working together in a group, shouting out ideas and collaborating. This can work so well, but it’s also worth splitting off into some alone time for your introverted attendees and even moving around the room to talk with them one-on-one.
6. Being talked over or dismissed
When you bring a group of people together, there will always be an assortment of personalities. Some people will ask all the questions, or dominate the discussion and others will stay quiet. Be mindful of the whole group (not just the loud ones) and create space for quieter types to speak up if they want to.
You’re the host, you have the power to make everyone in the group feel heard and valid next time you bring all sorts of personalities together in one room!
Photo credits belong to Kate Di Blasi Photography