DevRel for introverted folks

I need to preface this post with the disclaimer that this introversion/extraversion thing is a scale, and I'm probably a third of the way into the introversion half of that scale. I also know people who are much further to the end of introversion, and of course, there are the extroverts.

Most people seem to think that those of us who do a lot of speaking and events are generally quite extroverted, but after hanging out with other speakers, I realise that's not the case. For myself, I am a person who genuinely enjoys solitude. When I was younger and designing T-shirts (that's another story), I wanted to make one that said “The best conversations I have are with myself” but it seemed a bit too psychotic.

But it's not like I hate people, and I don't really mind hanging out with other people, but unless I already know someone, I will never start a conversation with them. Which makes being a speaker an inadvertent advantage because other people start talking to me first.

In my short 9 months working in DevRel, I found that it really does cover a very wide range of roles and responsibilities. There are more public facing ones like speaking and attending conferences but there's also more behind the scenes work like technical documentation, content creation, tooling and so on.

If public speaking is really not your thing, that's perfectly fine too. But if you'd like to get into public speaking as someone more on the introverted half of the spectrum, I think it's very important to prioritise solitude. Or whatever you prefer as a recharge mechanism. I use solitude as the example because that's what works for me. I just know that people are not it.

It's different for everyone, but I can be among lots of people, just as long as they leave me alone. You would have a different concept of solitude from me, but as long as I'm not interacting with people, things get better. So don't feel like you have to be “on” all the time at an event. Escaping people is 100% acceptable and no is always a valid response.

Everyone has an internal battery, just like those in your phone or laptop. If you drain out the battery, then you end up having to charge your device for a longer time. Similarly, if you let yourself go too long without scheduling “recharging sessions“, you will end up running on fumes. And that's not great for your overall mental health.