2006/09/22

Meeting Interesting New People

If you feel like you don't know anybody, or haven't met anyone new in years, help organize an event that's not sponsored by a group you're already part of.

Being part of the organizing team will introduce you to at least several new people. Those people are likely to have some passion and enthusiasm for the event topic if they're willing to help organize the event. That, by itself, makes them different and more interesting than many people. Organizing an event usually takes initiative and responsibility, as well as time commitment. Problems inevitably arise when organizing any event. Resolving those problems often introduces you to new people and always builds a shared-conflict bond with others on the organizing team. When people work together with you to solve problems, it brings you closer, and they have more trust in you.

People on the organizing team are often expected to personally recruit event participants. Talking to people about the event and inviting people you don't know to the event will almost certainly bring you in contact with some interesting new people. Depending on the event and how many people you invite, you will develop a good connection with either a few of those you invite or with many of them.

The third opportunity you'll have to meet interesting new people when you help organize an event is during the event itself. Part of your reason for being at the event should be so you can meet some of the most interesting participants at the event. Make sure you sit at a table with people you don't know. Introduce yourself to others and talk with them, not to them. Even more importantly, listen to them. Respond to what they say, asking them questions about what they said. Introduce yourself to some of the people who appear to be by themselves, look out of place at the event, or look like they maybe wish they weren't there.

Some people will seem especially interesting or seem to be someone with whom a genuine relationship might be possible. Ask them if they'd be willing to meet some time in the future, such as for coffee or lunch. Get the proper spelling of their name, get their phone number and email address, and tell them you'll call to schedule a get-together. After the event, make sure you follow up and do what you said you would. Ninety-nine percent of the people at the event are not going to ask you if you want to get together sometime after the event. Eighty percent of those at the event would be happy to meet with you if you ask them to.

Some of the new people you meet, whether on the organizing team, or those you invite to participate in the event, or event participants you meet during the event, will be people who may change your life. They may become lifelong friends or may introduce you to other people and ideas that you would have otherwise never met.

While doing organizing work today for BarCampMilwaukee, I talked with two people I had never before communicated with. One of them was extremely nice, and I will likely make the effort to get to know him lots better at the event. The other one was cordial and connected me to another person who can help me more with the event than she could. A third person I didn't know, B.L. Ochman, communicated with me about the event via email. Although she can't attend BarCampMilwaukee, she indicated interest in participating in a future barcamp. Who knows what fun, interesting and rewarding times I may share with those three people in the future, or with others to whom they may introduce me.

As Barb S said at Toastmasters yesterday, "Take a chance! Follow your gut." Meet someone new today...

*****

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