The Introvert’s Guide to Attending Business Conventions

First off, give yourself some grace. If you feel the need to step away, do it.

Convention centers (especially the gorgeous resort-style venues in Orlando) always have some nice little sweet spot (or many) to spend a few minutes alone. At the American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants’ Annual Forum this past April, I found several.

  1. Enjoy the outdoors.

One day, I ate my lunch outside by the fountain. I enjoyed some fresh air and sunshine, listened to the tranquil bubbling of a fountain, and took in the breathtaking landscape. Before heading back inside, I reviewed some of my notes from the previous sessions and my afternoon schedule. The 30 minutes felt like an hour, and I returned for the next session recharged and ready to mingle.

I also found that going outside for a 5-minute walk or to sit on a bench in the sunshine in between sessions helpful. The real kicker is that in seeking solace, I ended up meeting an amazing legal nurse consultant who I would not have met otherwise.  I thought I was stepping away for a break, but I was really stepping into an opportunity!

  1. Find a comfortable sitting area.

When I needed to check my emails, I would go to a comfortable spot where I could relax. I found a nice little chair by a window one day and went to the lobby the next. The great thing about lobbies in resorts, is that even though they have some foot traffic and a little noise, the seating is almost always comfortable, and the vibe is relaxed and welcoming. (Not to mention they are gorgeous!)

  1. Resist the urge to always sit with the same people.

As introverts, it’s much more comfortable to sit with someone who’s familiar than a total stranger. However, you miss out on meeting someone new! The seating for the AALNC conference was optimal for networking. The tables were large and round, providing the perfect opportunity to connect with tablemates, share ideas, and foster meaningful conversations.

  1. Volunteer to work at a booth.

The hardest part of conventions, for many introverts, is the happy hour ballroom meet and great. We are simply not the people who feel comfortable walking around, popping in and out of conversations. Behind a booth, introverts have a mission and the expectation to work the room is eliminated. People come up to you and it’s less stressful. I was not volunteering at a booth at the AALNC Forum this year, but I hope to next year, in Louisville, KY. (Wink, wink.)

  1. Be intentional.

I learned that networking doesn’t mean you have to successfully work an entire ballroom or go out to dinner with everyone. It’s all about making personal connections and forming new relationships. Don’t be critical of yourself for not taking part in every social event. Be intentional about the time you spend with other attendees, and you might just find that you end up meeting more people than you expect, without overextending yourself.


With the right mindset and strategy, introverts can find conventions professionally rewarding as well as fun. Most importantly, remember that quiet moments alone are not just okay, they are healthy, and might just be where you meet someone who becomes both a mentor and friend.


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