I leave tomorrow for a conference for work. This is the conference I’ve gone to every year for a long time. I spent years on the planning committee for the conference. I used to be the guy in charge of writing the pub quiz every year until I gave it up when I had other official duties and lost it forever. I’m still an active member of the steering committee for one of the divisions. I hope to be back on the conference committee next year. All of the above means that I will know plenty of people at the conference. You would think that would make it easier for me to mix and mingle at the social events. If you think that, you would be wrong. I am still a socially awkward introvert and it’s still not cool.
I’ve never been good at the social part of the conference. I’m terrible at using the conference as a networking opportunity. I did better at the conference I attended in the fall. I introduced myself to the new CEOs of two local library systems. I ate breakfast at a table with someone from Utah and contacted her later for information we had discussed. Maybe I can carry that over to this conference. It would be especially useful as I am getting closer to actively seeking employment elsewhere. It would be nice if people on the interview panels remembered me as the guy they met and liked and not the weird guy who stands quietly in the corner at the reception. It’s never good to be the weird guy standing quietly alone in the corner. It would also be nice for leaders at my current place of work to see that I am known and liked by others in the profession. Maybe it will make them care more about the possibility of losing me. I doubt it, but a man can dream.
So, tomorrow when the keynote is over and the welcome reception starts, I will make an effort to not just grab some food and look for people I know. I will make an effort to meet new people without being weird and awkward about it. I will do the same at the other social activities. Look for my post next week where I will talk about my failure to do this.