Peculiar Ediomo-Abasi

Tech community manager |Freelance writer| Introvert

Attending Meetups: An Introvert's Guide

If you've ever wondered why you should attend tech meetups, when you could simply stream them online, your concerns are valid.
For an introvert, leaving the comfort of your home to a place where you are certain to meet a lot of new people can be draining.
Let's say you finally decide to attend a meetup. The last thing you want is to regret ever going. So, let's dive into the benefits of attending tech meetups, what to do during a meetup, and how to recharge afterwards, especially if you identify as an introvert.

What you can gain from attending meetups

1. Meetups are Great for Learning New Things
The line-up of speakers at meetups are usually well selected. They are mostly industry leaders on the subject matter or people who have thoroughly researched the topic.
Since you will be live at the event you could vibe easily with the illustrations and lectures of the speakers. You could also learn a thing or two from the answers to questions asked during the Q & A sessions.
If the event includes live coding sessions, you get to see everything first hand, and can ask questions might you have any.
2. Meetups keep you up to date with the latest opportunities and announcements
Meetups present a great chance for tech companies to talk about their new products or reinforce the knowledge of an existing product. Usually, attendees are able to learn better ways to incorporate these products or technologies into their daily work as devs or designers.
A company representatives at a meetup means there could be announcements of job opportunities or internships. If not outrightly so, you can have a one-on-one chat with these representatives about the value you can add to their company, and exchange emails.
3. Freebies!
Swags or souvenirs are an icing on the cake. The free branded tees, notebooks, stickers, pens, or even free subscriptions etc, are a nice 'thank you for coming' note, from the event organizers to you.
One time I attended The Concatenate Conference in Lagos, I got a one-year free Egghead subscription and also Frontend Masters subscription, just for attending. There are a lot of freebies you could get for attending meetups.
4. Collaboration
Just like you, there are other people that will not mind making the best of their presence at a meetup. This could mean sharing ideas with like-minds, working together on projects, getting to know new people—exchanging cards for follow up conversations etc.
Introverts do not like small talks and the major reasons they hate them can present itself at meetups. To avoid this, you can prep yourself ahead of the meetup with some simple conversation starters to help you kick start discussions with ease.
5. Get inspired to dive into public speaking
Noticed how speakers have their unique presentation styles? One speaker can be soft-spoken while another could be very energetic. Whatever your style might be when you finally choose to speak at an event, give it your best shot.
Public speaking is a great way to put yourself out there. It is a boost to your online portfolio and overtime solidifies you as an expert on a subject matter.

Things to do during a tech meetup

1. Place your phone on silence.
2. Get a notepad to jot down key points and questions as they come to you. Take note of the names of the speakers too. This is so that you can follow up with them after the event, or follow them on social media.
3. When you are asked to tweet or share excerpts from the meetup on social media, kindly comply. It is just a way of encouraging the organizers who have taking out time and resources to make the event possible. Remember to use to the event hashtag if there is one.
4. During the house-keeping session, listen up so you know where the restroom is, what the WIFI password is, and other information relevant to you while you are at the venue. If you have to excuse yourself during the meetup, do so quietly.
5. Keep your belongings safe—your laptop, power pack, and bag. You don't want to lose any thing.

How to recharge after a meetup

1. Enjoy some quiet in a calm and less stimulating environment. It could be in your bedroom, a garden, or at your backyard. Just breathe in and breathe out, totally enjoying the moment. Let all the calm soak in!
2. Listen to music! The body and mind responds to music—This can help it relax. So be sure to play the right music that places you on a relaxation mood.
3. Get on your creative side. If you love to write, draw, or design, have at it. It's a cool way to recharge. For me, I love to sketch.
4. Read for fun!
5. See a movie.

Wrap up

Attending tech meetups presents you with opportunities that you can leverage for personal growth and to expand your network. All the same, do not over do it. Note when you feel drained and do the needful—Recharge!
Really, how to attend tech meetups as an introvert is to make the best of your presence at the event, and to ensure you restore your energy afterwards.
To know the next tech meetup to attend you can join communities in your interest on Meetup or signup for newsletters in your niche.
Picture credit: Unsplash

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