The Ambivert’s Conference Survival Guide
I have always loved being around people. People give me so much energy! (Flow state is real, more on this later). So, when I started going to conferences at 19 as an Event Marketer, I quickly realized that chatting with strangers was not only exciting, but it came easy to me. What didn’t come easy to me was bouncing back from the emotional come down of being around so many people all at once to it all ending as quickly as it began.
It used to get me really down; it still does, but as I have gotten older and grown to cherish alone time, I have cultivated some tools for when I’m packing my things to go home and missing everyone like crazy. After two long years of barely seeing anyone, I think we all were ready to shake off the pandemic and have some fun! Which, for me, made saying goodbye that much harder.
My colleague and mentor, Cheryl Wilson Griffin, likes to say she is an ambivert. Someone who finds spending time with throngs of people fun and energizing, but also needs some downtime afterwards too. I tend to agree with that. So we put together a Conference Survival Guide for anyone who loves the buzz of a crowd, but after a week of non-stop action: booth duty, panel discussions, CLEs, networking events, demos, meetings, dinners, drinks, and after parties you simultaneously cherish the tranquility and miss the excitement.
Here are our “hacks” for surviving Legalweek (or any conference!).
1. Relationships first
Don’t worry about selling, networking, or anything more formal than meeting some really smart people. It’s way more casual than finding documents in your DMS.
2. Stay. Hydrated
We cannot stress this enough. If you’re not a tap water person, stash a case of water in your room. Eating hydrating foods like apples and cucumbers, soups or even using hydration tablets are all great ways to hydrate too!
3. Eat what you like…
But be kind to your body. Don’t go too far off your normal eating habits. If you don’t usually eat Lobster Mac & Cheese, this isn’t the time for it. Try something new (you’re going to expense it anyway), but moderation is key.
4. Stash healthy snacks
Sometimes it can be hard to find time to eat; having healthy snacks in your room, your bag or at the booth can be a lifesaver! A small bag of almonds or a protein bar can mean the difference between having a great day or losing your [REDACTED].
Moving your body relieves stress! Shorten your normal routine or try a quick HIIT workout. Think seeing your colleagues in stretchy pants is too personal? There are tons of workouts you can do right from your hotel room!
6. Drink less
Alcohol dehydrates us quickly and ramps up cortisol, which causes stress. Alcohol also makes us dance like no one is watching, the benefits of which are currently being debated in the Southern District of New York.
7. Get your beauty rest
Preparing to sleep is arguably just as important as sleeping. Bring your favorite hydration mask to wear before bed, meditate, stretch, read a book – take time to wind down from the excitement of the day, however you like to do it.
8. Pack up the non-essentials
If your hotel room looks like an Enron shredding party come the end of a conference, do yourself a favor and pack non-essentials the night before. You never know what last-minute things might come up on the last day of the show!
9. You need YOU time
Set a mental goal for how much time you will give yourself before you hit the grind again. Maybe you only have an hour or maybe the whole weekend – carve out some time just for you, no matter how small, and revel in it.
10. Phone a friend
We’re only human, after all. Whether you’re glowing with joy, wrought with anxiety or somewhere in between, tell someone about it! Tell them about the fun you had, the people you met, the stress, the highs, and the lows…so long as it isn’t confidential.
What are some of your favorite conference survival hacks?