Clever Carly: What Extroverts Need from Events
Planning an event for outgoing attendees? Here’s what to prioritize
Hello, dear planners!
At its core, designing meetings is about learning how to cater to different types of people. It’s no surprise, then, that there’s a host of literature on how to make meetings enjoyable for introverts. By definition, introverts tend to keep to themselves and can be shyer—traits that are often in contrast with the bustling, social atmosphere of many events.
Meanwhile, because extroverts are commonly regarded as outgoing, sociable and expressive—characteristics that come in handy at meetings—they are often left out of the events conversation. The logic seems to be, “Extroverts are outgoing, and events are social, and therefore extroverts make the perfect attendees.”
But the rationale is flawed. For one thing, there is no such thing as the perfect attendee. And though extroverts might thrive in social situations, that doesn’t mean they excel at meetings.
So, let’s take a look at what you can do to make extroverts feel comfortable and excited about events, shall we?
1. Prioritize independence.
Many extroverts are social butterflies, and keeping them on a tight schedule is equivalent to clipping their wings. Giving extroverts the freedom to explore, move about the room and talk to guests as they please both plays to their strengths and ensures an enjoyable attendee experience.
If your meeting does require lengthy sit-down time, be sure to balance the agenda with breakout sessions that allow guests to get up and leave the room.
2. Offer a flexible agenda.
Events where attendees can pick and choose which sessions or experiences to engage in are more likely to pique an extrovert’s interest. That’s because, simply put, extroverts want options. They want to be able to design their own experience (hence the point on independence, above), and the freedom to choose which sessions to attend makes them an active player in their personal event experience.
At smaller meetings that aren’t so flexible with which sessions are offered, I implore you to …
3. Provide opportunities for participation.
Need volunteers for a session? Look no further than your outgoing attendees. Extroverts are enthusiastic individuals, and if they’re at your event, there’s a good chance that they are passionate about its meeting purpose (as they should be!). Leverage that enthusiasm with opportunities to be active in the event. Perhaps guests can help with live demonstrations or share their experiences beyond the traditional question-and-response format, for instance.
4. Go social.
Being social is an extrovert’s strength, so play up the community element of your meeting. Cocktail hours, pre-meeting breakfast, team-building activities—anything that gets guests talking and interacting belongs on the agenda.
Don’t forget social media, either: Give your meeting a unique hashtag and encourage attendees to join in on conversations with your meeting’s online community.
Remember, even a people person needs downtime and breaks from the crowd. It’s OK—in fact, necessary—to schedule solo time on the agenda, particularly for multiday destination meetings. Take it from this extrovert: I love the people and energy in a meeting room, but come the end of the day, I love me some me time, too.