Introvert Survival Skills at SXSW
(As Gleaned Through Twitter)
It’s hard to be an introvert at SXSW, the annual conference/festival held in in Austin, Texas, happening this year March 6-16, 2014. A fusion of music fans, film buffs, tech geeks, and startup entrepreneurs, SXSW is known for its parties, hobnobbing, and creative technology launchesair jordan sneaker.
This annual event can be challenging for attendees with introverted personalities. Carrie Bishop, Director of FutureGov and one of this year’s attendees, writes “SXSW is a weird place to be an introvert.” (1) Another attendee writes “SXSW needs an Introverts Lounge with individual, quiet pods where people can get out of the mobs for a while.” (2) Caleb Gardner, Social/Content Director at Organizing for Action, writes “Second day at SXSW, and the introvert in me is already flaring up. Where in Austin can I go sit somewhere quiet and read a book?” (3)
This year, one of the SXSW morning panels on March 11th was focused on the topic of introverts, with four professionals presenting a workshop called “Introvert Uprising: When the Silent Strike Back.” (4) The panel featured a range of professionals- from successful technology leaders to clinical counselors- and was attended by around 40 conference participants.
At attendees gathered for the panel, one of the attendees, Greta Arnold, a resident of Washington, DC, observed “a panel on introversion at 9:30 in the morning = no one in the room talking to anyone else.” (5) Kristin Warwick of Dallas, Texas posted a photo of people sitting with empty seats between them throughout the conference room, noting that this was “exactly how I imagined the people would be spread out during the introvert session.” (6)
The panel started out by defining introverts as people who recharge and get energy from being alone, as opposed to extroverts, who recharge and get energy from interaction with others (7). The panelists then showed a slide depicting the extrovert-ambivert-introvert spectrum (8). Next, the panelists jolted the audience by showing a Gawker headline stating “Introverts ruin everything” (9). They then went into some mythbusting, including the fact that not all introverts are shy (10). Importantly, they emphasized that “introverts are not broken extroverts” (11), since one of the struggles for introverts is getting extroverts to stop trying to convert them air max sneaker.
Ultimately, the panelists focused on how managers in the workplace can make the work environment more welcoming for introverted employees. For example, attendee Kristin Warwick appreciated the panelists’ advice that “Don’t label introverts as disinterested, lacking passion, or not leaders just because they’re thinkers, listeners, and observers” (12). Moreover, the panelists discussed how introverts are more comfortable with silence than extroverts. As attendee and Texas State grad student Melody Celeste understood it, “Our society is uncomfortable with silence, especially extroverts, but introverts are actually thinking about the question” (13). In fact, the panelists discussed how silence can be used to “take back power in a conversation” (14).
More concretely, Kristin took away that “research states that there are significant benefits to having an office quiet room, nap room, or meditation room” (15). The panelists discussed that drains in the workplace for introverts can include “open work places, others playing music, and happy hour” (16). The takeaway for managers was to be more aware of creating “quiet space” in the workplace: “Research support quiet rooms. There are benefits for managers to create quiet space” (17). By not assuming that everyone works the same way, managers can be more attune to the needs of their employees (18).
SXSW continues, and conference attendees continue to be a mix of extroverts and introverts. As introverts continue to struggle with conference/festival survival skills, it is refreshing to see this issue acknowledged on the official SXSW agenda this year with a well-received panel new balance shoes.
1 Bishop tweet: https://twitter.com/carriebish/statuses/443197827951251456
2 Donajo tweet https://twitter.com/donajo/statuses/443090267369779200
3 Gardner tweet https://twitter.com/calebgardner/statuses/443118535015821312
4 Introvert Uprising http://schedule.sxsw.com/2014/events/event_IAP20662
5 Arnold tweet:https://twitter.com/thelastgoodnite/statuses/443394102571180033
6 Photo Warwick tweet http://twitpic.com/dy0foi
7 Watson tweet https://twitter.com/abcwatson/statuses/443395502155919360
8 Celeste tweet https://twitter.com/melodyceleste/status/443398946786799616/photo/1
9 Watson tweet https://twitter.com/abcwatson/statuses/443394341189328896
10 Springer tweet https://twitter.com/monicaspringer/statuses/44339538422884761
11 Fortune tweet https://twitter.com/Fortunejn/statuses/443397817541738497
12 Warwick tweet https://twitter.com/kristinwarwick/statuses/443402231845371904
13 Celeste tweet #2 https://twitter.com/melodyceleste/statuses/443398515847593984
14 Celeste tweet #3 https://twitter.com/melodyceleste/statuses/443398706327351296
15 Warwick tweet #2 https://twitter.com/kristinwarwick/statuses/443403459346186240
16 Celeste tweet# 4 https://twitter.com/melodyceleste/statuses/443400864854581249
17 Celeste tweet #5 https://twitter.com/melodyceleste/statuses/443402879471083520
18 Celeste tweet #6 https://twitter.com/melodyceleste/statuses/443404454872621056
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