I’ve had this on my list of things to talk about someday, a recent post on almost the same subject by Sacha Chua along with my recent experience at the PASS Summit made me decide now was the time to write it!
Professionally I’m outgoing, most of the time. It’s hard to succeed in business if you’re not able to speak to groups, hold your own in meetings, and project some energy/power. I suspect few working with me or meeting me at a conference would consider me shy (though I’m often told that I appear serious – I am!). Some of that comes easily to me, some requires real effort, one of the reasons I put a lot of effort into my networking skills this year.
For the first few days at an event like PASS I’m out and trying to participate as much as I can, talking to old friends and meeting new people, but usually around the 3rd day (which is often day 1 of the event since I typically arrive early) I’m just tired of being outgoing, ready for some quiet time, where quiet time can be a conversation with people I know or just looking out the window for a while. I suspect I’m not the only one like this, and it’s a useful thing to understand – if you’re talking to someone/trying to meet/etc, and they seem a little withdrawn, it might just be networking overload.
As the title suggests, personally I’m more of an introvert, less likely to push to meet people, less likely to join in events where I’m not as comfortable. There are times when I push to be outgoing, but it’s a struggle against genetics as far as I can tell.
Of course most people aren’t going to know this about me, nor will I know how they interact with people either, beyond whatever signals we send. In practice we all do the best we can and try to meet halfway. About all I can see is that understanding my own behavior has taught me to look a little deeper when I run into someone that seems to be too loud, too happy, too withdrawn. It’s rarely rudeness, more often a default behavior which I don’t understand.
Not sure I explained it well, looking forward to your comments!