I just signed up for the Catalyst West conference in April, a large conference aimed at younger generations of pastors and church leaders. I'm very much looking forward to it. Interestingly, even though I prefer smaller churches, where I can more easily meet people over time as I see them week after week, I prefer larger conference settings. When I'm only going to be somewhere for two or three days, I enjoy the relative anonymity of that context. You'll usually find me in the bigger breakout sessions, where I don't feel pressured to share or participate much (other than listening, which contrary to popular belief is a very active kind of participation). And sometimes I'll duck out of the breakout sessions to find a quiet spot to read or else go off campus to a nearby coffee shop or wine bar.
I also just sent an email to the Catalyst organizers, suggesting an "Introverts Corner" (to steal the term from a Psychology Today blog of the same name), a quiet and comfortable place where people can go to process, journal, rest, or access WiFi. We'll see what they say.
Do you prefer larger or small conferences? What are your strategies for navigating the extroverted conference chaos?