Conferences can be an introvert's nightmare, with the crush of so many people, the push to network, and the lack of proper timeouts.
On her C-Level Strategies blog, consultant and introvert Lisa Petrilli suggests ways to make the gatherings more palatable to introverts:
–Appoint a chief relationships officer who, from the time registrations flow in, looks for ways to help people connect, finding out as much as possible about people and serving as an executive concierge assisting people with tasks such as networking.
–Be more strategic with seating. Ideally, put people at small, four-person tables that can encourage intense conversation while keeping introverts in their comfort zone of a small group. The typical 10-person round tables don't work as well for connected conversation. Similarly, arrange some small clusters on the perimeter of the room for introverts to head to during networking time, in addition to the traditional large gathering space extroverts cherish.
–Make sure the agenda allows a 30-minute break in the afternoon for introverts to recharge (15 minutes would suffice in the morning) and a minimum 90-minute break between the end of the day's sessions and the evening activities. "This gives introverts time to rejuvenate while our extroverted colleagues may meet spontaneously on their own," Ms. Petrilli writes.