For introverts, being surrounded by thousands of people at large conferences like Family Reunion or Mega Camp can be overwhelming, draining and even downright scary. These are feelings Christy Belt Grossman, a KW mega agent, knows all too well.
“I used to believe that, because I was an introvert, there were certain things I could not do or I would not enjoy,” she writes. “This was my limiting belief. But, what I’ve learned is I just experience things differently than extroverts (or ambiverts). What once felt overwhelming (going to Keller Williams Family Reunion or Mega Camp with thousands of people) is now something I look forward to.”
Words of Advice From an Introvert
Belt Grossman offers some wonderful advice on how introverts can get the most out of their conference experience and walk away feeling empowered and satisfied after the final session has ended. “Remember, the magic happens once you’re out of your comfort zone,” she says.
Plan a “reconnaissance mission.”
Check in early to get the lay of the land. Scope out where the general sessions will be and where your favorite breakouts will take place. Find a great breakfast and coffee spot. This will help you feel less overwhelmed when the masses appear.
Get a massage. Or sign up to use the hotel spa.
I’ve done this at Family Reunion and Mega Camp. The first time was at Family Reunion. As soon as I checked in and registered at the convention center, I was surrounded by a LOT of people and butterflies began fluttering around in my stomach. Heading to the spa right after that allowed me to gather strength, get over my jet lag, and re-enter the world energized and ready to roll. Even if you don’t want to spend the money on a massage, most spas have a small fee you can pay to use the facilities. At KW FR, I really enjoyed the “quiet room” and soaking in the spa pools.
Practice your self-talk.
Do you have a little voice in your head at events like this that says, “You’re boring. Why would anyone want to talk to you? You’re terrible at small talk. Why would these big shots want to spend time with you?” I do. So I practice my self-talk before I go. My tribe of girlfriends just implemented a new rule: “If you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, don’t say it to yourself.” I love that. So start talking to yourself like you would to your BFF. “You got this, girlfriend. You’re awesome. The whole world should know how smart you are!” Write it on your bathroom mirror in your hotel room if you need to!
Get your own room.
This has been a lifesaver for me. I know it costs more to do this, but you can more than make up for that with one referral during the year. Having my own room means I have a safe haven. And I don’t have a roommate who I feel like I have to talk to all the time. I always stay in the main hotel and as close to the convention center as possible. That way, I can pop upstairs to freshen my makeup, drop off materials, or just have a quick 15-minute breather.
Plan meals ahead.
Invite one or two people to join you for breakfast, lunch or dinner. And don’t be shy to invite people you don’t know! Chances are there are others in the same boat. Been wondering about making a switch to a new vendor? Invite other EAs using those platforms to join you for a brainstorm over coffee. Wondering how your team can get from 200 units to 350 units? Set up a dinner mastermind. Has someone in the Facebook group really jumped out at you for their positive thinking? Invite them to join you for lunch. Having meaningful one-on-one conversation is important to introverts, and planning ahead removes the anxiety that comes from big group gatherings.
Don’t feel you must attend EVERY session.
Sometimes the one-on-one meetings outside the sessions can be equally as valuable. And sometimes you might just sit by the pool or nap in your room to recharge. Give yourself grace and build in your downtime.
Have conversation-starters at the ready.
If you’re like me, you’re not necessarily comfortable with small talk. Remember, you already have multiple things in common with the people you’ll run into – you’re with KW, and you love to learn and grow. Here are some quick conversation-starters that can help you break the ice:
“What’s the ONE Thing you’re here to learn this week?”
“What was your biggest accomplishment last year, and what’s your biggest challenge this year?”
“Where are you from and what does your team look like?”
“What was the best book you read last year and what are you reading now?”
“Tell me about the breakouts you went to yesterday.”
“What’s your best aha so far?”
Remember, you’re surrounded by people who make their living in sales: a relationship business. So chances are if you start the conversation, they’ll run with it. Piece of cake!