Events today are designed for extroverts, but research shows that 33-50% of the world’s population are introverts. (And the percentage is even higher when you include ambiverts, who have both extroverted and introverted tendencies.) What can we do to make events introvert friendly?
To deliver the most positive and impactful experience for all parties involved, events need to be flexible enough to accommodate individual needs and preferences. How can we design experiences that engage both the extroverted and the introverted? It’s easier than you think.
First, what is an introvert?
Not all introverts are shy – a common misconception. One self-identified introvert explained that the real distinguishing factor is the impact of human interactions: “Extroverts gain energy by interacting with other people, while introverts lose energy. Introverts need to recharge alone.”
In the world of events, this means you need to think about how to provide space for introverts (and ambiverts) to recharge and step out of group settings. Back-to-back networking receptions and busy expo floors are an introvert’s nightmare, and can impact his or her event overall experience in a negative way.
Try these introvert-friendly tactics:
1. On-your-own time – Provide white space in the agenda, or unscheduled evenings, that give attendees personal time to use as they please.
2. Choose your participation – Allow attendees to play an observer role, if they choose, in group environments. Provide an identifier (e.g., a double-sided badge) for attendees to identify themselves as a Participant or an Observer during roundtable sessions, group demos, etc
3. Scalable engagement formats – Create a low boundary on the perimeter of an experience (e.g., demo areas, theater presentations) where attendees can observe and listen without feeling obligated to fully participate.
4. Jigsaw puzzles – Set puzzles out in communal areas for attendees to work on between activities and sessions. People can interact at their own speed, and don’t have to converse if they don’t want to.
By being aware and inclusive of diverse personalities, you can make events introvert friendly and provide a comfortable and inviting environment for all attendees that delivers the most productive and enjoyable experience possible.