Quiet Moments

Recently I had to attend a work conference in Sydney. It went for a couple of days, and the first day was particularly intense with lots of people and activities and interactions – a full on schedule where I had almost no time alone. Breaks throughout the day were spent with colleagues, with the time allocated too short to do anything other than grab a cuppa, debrief a little and get on with it. After the day’s agenda was completed, it was straight on to drinks and canapés before heading out to dinner as a group.

Accommodation was provided but shared, then another day with a full dance card but involving a smaller group of people. When we finished for the day I collected my car, rejoicing in spending time in Sydney traffic, still in a crowd but alone. 

A few years ago, the prospect of a two-day conference would have agitated me for weeks beforehand. It has taken me a while to understand the underlying cause of the agitation. The industry updates and networking don’t create concern for me – I usually emerge informed and with refreshed enthusiasm. I find, too, that taking a couple of days away from my usual routine provides me with a different perspective and I tend to come up with more creative solutions to problems. The agitation relates to the absence of quiet time.

I know now that I need time to digest what has happened and to think through what this means. And to do that best, I need some time alone.

Learning more about having an introverted personality has taken much of the angst out of attending conferences and events such as these. I know that finding even very small pockets of time when I can be on my own will help refresh me and give me the energy to return to the mob. Knowing that many other people feel the same way helps too – this isn’t some oddity on my part, and by understanding this I can get through these events and even enjoy myself.

How important are quiet moments to you?

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16 thoughts on “Quiet Moments

  1. Those quiet moments are essential. I think meeting and conference planners are finally realizing that it’s important to build long breaks and down-time into meetings–to allow people to process what they are learning. For some, that means getting together with others and chatting over coffee, and for others (like us), it means time to go for a walk or sit quietly and allow our minds to synthesize and embed what we’ve learned. Planners used to think that every minute had to be filled; now most understand that if something is too full, it spills over and is lost forever.

    • Thank you for your comments, Donna, and it is good to know that the need to process information is being more widely understood with time and space required to really take it on board. It is certainly better than information overload when there is so much content that it is hard to ascertain what will be of benefit. Nice to know that I’m not the only one who thinks quiet moments matter!

  2. Quiet moments are crucial – you have put it very well. There have been times when the hustle and bustle have driven me to seek a few minutes refuge, and I have wondered if it was just me, or if I was somehow being exceptionally rude or anti-social – but your post sets out nicely the need for and value of those quiet moments (even the ones you have to steal from under the nose of guests, colleagues, or hosts)

    • Thanks, Richard, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels the need to escape, even if it is just for a moment. At the end of day one I mentioned the need for a bit of solitude to some colleagues who agreed that it was all a bit overwhelming, particularly after hours and hours of being surrounded (almost besieged, in my mind). It helped me to realise that it isn’t just me and that it’s okay to need a bit of space. Thank you for your comments.

  3. I’m not exactly an introvert, but I don’t like big crowds. I feel lost in them, so I usually grit my teeth when our annual conference comes along. Small groups of people that I know well are a different story. Depending on who they are. I often feel energised from such encounters.

    • Thank you for your comments, and you capture the essence of it so well – the need to reset and simply be. Thank you for reading & sharing your thoughts.

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