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The Introverted Marketer's Guide to Attending a Conference

by Lisa Petrilli  |  
December 6, 2011

In this article, you'll learn...

  • Four ways introverts can be active participants at conferences
  • How introverted marketers can break through their challenges and make meaningful connections

Marketing budgets are tight in this economy, we all know that. The CEOs I work with at CEO Connection tell me their own budgets have been cut, which of course means that those cuts are trickling down to the marketing department.

And what that means for you as a marketer is that if you have the opportunity to attend a conference, you must approach it with a clear intent to get a return on the investment the company is making in you. But if you happen to be an introverted marketer, which likely means a conference is not the most comfortable of settings, you'll need a strategy for ensuring your company gets its money's worth—in a way that is comfortable for you and honors who you are.

Defining the Terms

Let's first look at the difference between introverts and extraverts, so that introverted marketers can better understand strategies that are more comfortable for them, and extraverted marketers can have a better appreciation of their introverted colleagues.

According to the Myers & Briggs Foundation, introversion and extraversion can be defined as follows:

Where do you put your attention and get your energy? Do you like to spend time in the outer world of people and things (Extraversion), or in your inner world of ideas and images (Introversion)?...Everyone spends some time extraverting and some time introverting. Don't confuse Introversion with shyness or reclusiveness. They are not related. [Emphasis mine.]

Take a minute to ask yourself which of the following descriptions seems more natural, effortless, and comfortable for you.


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Lisa Petrilli is CEO of C-Level Strategies Inc., chief relationship officer of CEO Connection, and chief operating and marketing officer for the To Be a Woman global platform. Introverts will find an abundance of practical advice in her new e-book: The Introvert's Guide to Success in Business and Leadership. Marketing Profs readers will receive a 30% discount and pay just $5.39 with code "MarketingProfs." The e-book is also available on Amazon for Kindle and at Barnes & Noble for Nook.

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  • by Rebecca Tue Dec 6, 2011 via web

    I really identified with this post Lisa. Thanks for writing it! Now to the hard part...actually implementing your ideas!

  • by Diana Tue Dec 6, 2011 via web

    So timely! Found out yesterday I'm attending a conference in a couple of weeks. Just downloaded your book. Thanks!

  • by Lisa Petrilli Tue Dec 6, 2011 via web

    Rebecca, just take it one step at a time in a way that's most comfortable to you. All the best and thank you for the kind words!

  • by Lisa Petrilli Tue Dec 6, 2011 via web

    Diana, honored to know it resonated so strongly - best of luck at the conference! I think you'll find it to be an exciting new experience if you go in with this new mindset. :) All the best!

  • by Christine Hawks Tue Dec 6, 2011 via web

    Refreshing to hear that I'm not the only introvert that struggled with conference attendance! I recently attended my first marketing conference and even thought I produce professional development events for a living, it's an entirely different experience to be on the attendee-side of an event, especially since I didn't know anyone! I was also helped by my boss "encouraging" me to write about my experience...couldn't skip the events if I had to write about them! Thank you for this post, Lisa, and the encouragement. I look forward to checking out your book!

  • by Lisa Petrilli Tue Dec 6, 2011 via web

    Thank you, Christine and how wonderful to know that your boss gave you the opportunity to write about your experience. I appreciate the support and hope that you'll go to your next conference feeling much more confident!

  • by Anne-Marie Watson Tue Dec 6, 2011 via web

    Wonderful article Lisa. I am always glad to know that I am not alone in finding conferences a bit daunting and that's even with many years of experience. I am sure there would be many others out there too who could use your words of wisdom and encouragement. Good luck with your book sales-you deserve it!

  • by Lisa Petrilli Tue Dec 6, 2011 via web

    Thank you so much, Anne-Marie, I really appreciate that! And no, you're not alone! I actually have a section on that in the book. :)

  • by Sook-Han Thu Dec 8, 2011 via web

    Thanks for this, Lisa! I'll be sure to put these into practice at the next conference I go to.

  • by Lisa Petrilli Thu Dec 8, 2011 via web

    You're welcome, Sook-Han. I'm so glad to know they resonated, best of luck at that conference!

  • by Marketer in DC Fri Dec 9, 2011 via web

    What a clever idea for an article. Offers helpful information to share with colleagues, too.

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