Tag Archives: introverts

Making a conference introvert-friendly

Image: Joe Wolf via flickr.com CC BY-ND 2.0

I need your help, because I was asked a question and didn’t know the answer.  Read on…

Conferences are an important part of life as a scientist.  They’re a valuable part of network-building and a chance to exchange the newest ideas, the newest techniques, and the newest results.  But they’re also exhausting – and particularly so for scientists who are introverts, and find the crowded rooms and halls and the non-stop social interaction draining.  Plenty of scientists are introverts – I’m one – and so this isn’t a trivial issue.  I wrote some time ago about how I manage going to conferences as an introvert.  But until just last week it never occurred to me to wonder about the issue from the other end:  to wonder what conference organizers might do to make conferences more welcoming to introverts.  Continue reading


Why I assign the group work that I hated as a student

Photo: Group presentation, by LBB Jauno speciālistu sekcija via Flickr.com, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

When I was an undergraduate, I hated group work.  As a professor, I assign it. Hypocrisy? Cognitive dissonance?  Cruelty?  Well, I don’t think so.

I hated group work for two reasons.  Continue reading

Four famous introverts

Blogging as an introvert

Photo: Four introverts in far more public eye than I’ll ever be.  Clockwise from top left: Marlon Brando, photo Carl Van Vechten, public domain; Lady Gaga, photo Gabrisagacre14 via wikimedia.org, CC BY-SA 4.0;  Jimi Hendrix, photo A. Vente via Beeld en Geluidwiki, CC BY-SA 3.0 NL; Greta Garbo, photo MGM (work for hire), public domain.

Warning: navel-gazing.

I told the story, a while back, of how I survive conferences, given that I’m an introvert and don’t particularly like putting myself out there.  Quite a few people told me they were surprised to learn I consider myself introverted.  In part, this reflects decades of practice at pretending otherwise, at least when professionally and socially necessary.  But it occurs to me that there’s another reason people might be surprised: I blog (obviously), and that means every week, I put myself out there by posting an opinion for all to read.  Why, one might quite reasonably ask, would an introvert do that? Continue reading

An introvert goes conferencing

Image: Joe Wolf via flickr.com CC BY-ND 2.0

While I was grumpy recently about conferences having themes, I’m not at all anti-conference. In fact, I agree entirely with Terry McGlynn here that going to conferences and meeting people in your field is really important. In fact, I just registered for two of the four conferences I plan to attend this year (a personal record high). But here’s the thing: while I’m looking forward to them, I’m also not, because like a fair number of academics I’m an introvert*. I find conferences, and all the people at them, exhausting. So I’ve been running through in my mind some of the strategies I use to cope. If you’re a little like me, maybe you’ll find some value in my writing them out**. Or at least in knowing that you aren’t the only one. Continue reading