Being chosen to attend a conference alone can initially generate much excitement. It can feel like an immense privilege to have been selected above the rest of your colleagues – and of course, there is also the special opportunity to travel somewhere new and meet many interesting people.
However, panic could set in once you realise the potential awkwardness of being alone at various stages – including the keynotes and lunch breaks. How can you dissipate such panic?
Discern where exactly you will ‘recharge’
If the conference venue will be far beyond easy travelling distance of where you live, you will need to think carefully about where you should stay during the conference.
Fortunately, if the venue will be near a major city such as Paris, you should have a large choice of places at which to stay. An especially beautiful and refined setting that can be booked for corporate conferences is our own Château Bouffémont, which is just a 40-minute drive from Paris city centre.
Have your laptop or phone at close hand
Naturally, keeping yourself busy using a laptop or phone for the entirety of a conference can risk you appearing unapproachable and standoffish. However, as advised in a HubSpot article, “having them readily accessible when you are feeling very awkward isn’t always a bad thing.”
You should still avoid excessively relying on those devices. This could free up time for you to spend admiring stunning interior decor and heritage if you visit or use our chateau for corporate event days.
Regularly follow and tweet the conference’s hashtag
This is convenient to do on those occasions when you do use such devices. It can be especially worthwhile if you will be at the event as a solo attendee, as it could help you to detect potential connections with people who also often use that hashtag.
You also shouldn’t overlook the benefits of regularly sharing content with this hashtag. In doing so, you could make yourself more familiar to other attendees.
Good things come to those who wait
Whoever originally devised that familiar saying probably had experience of being a lone attendee at a corporate conference or in another, similar setting. Indeed, occasions on which you have to wait – such as for a shuttle, keynote or lunch – could present you with valuable networking opportunities.
This post on the blog of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) advises that during waiting time, you engage nearby people, with which you could exchange business cards. You may even start turning up early for the extra opportunities!
Leave the conference at appropriate moments
The conference could comprise a rapid succession of numerous and varied events, but you shouldn’t feel that you have a cast-iron obligation to be at every single one of them. Save your energy and composure for the sessions that are most relevant or interesting for you.
If the conference is here at Château Bouffémont, you could spend each break in our spectacular manicured French gardens. The experience could soothe you and thus revitalise your spirits ahead of the next exciting part of the conference.