I attended my first meet up this week. I went in super nervous and awkward. Because well, that’s how I act when I meet new people… except if it’s part of my job because then I rock it. Why is that?!
Anyway, my nerves did fade pretty quickly. It’s amazing what the power of a nametag does (and a glass of vino). It gives people permission to come and talk to you. What a concept. I’m debating wearing one every night, but I’m not certain it will have the same effect when everyone else isn’t wearing one too.
Everyone else is there for the same reason – to network! I wasn’t sure if this was supposed to be like a singles networking event or a professional networking event. But I realized, that actually doesn’t need a label. You’re just there to meet people you might not have talked to otherwise. I actually found it highly entertaining and learned a few new tidbits – for better or worse.
The evening started meeting Dante. Dante worked in the “restaurant industry” and wanted to be President. He talked about the corruption of politics and how he wanted in on that… no joke. I had questioned what on earth I had gotten myself into.
Then Bob (I think that was his name) came over, a gay web developer. I enjoyed talking to him because I wanted to know more about web development and what they do. I also questioned the cost of a recent project I had commissioned at work and felt I was getting taken advantage of – he confirmed I likely was! He also taught me that jewish is an ethnicity (to which Dante argued that tooth and nail).
I also met Ray the old cyber security man and a bunch of other characters whom I forgot most of their names. Although there was one name I couldn’t forget, and that was Shady. Yes, his real name was Shady – he whipped out an ID to prove it.
I missed the ice breaker game because the founder thought we were hotel guests that stole nametags. Luckily he realized the mistake and gave us free passes for another networking event of our choice. However we did inquire about the game – and here’s the low down. Everyone received a word on a piece of paper at check-in. You had to find people with other words and try to make a sentence together. The best sentence won.
As the night progressed, Dante became a little too drunk after downing several long island iced teas on a Wednesday. I’d like to say I wasn’t judging, but I was. He started stumbling and fell asleep on the couch. As I conversed with the other networkers, we all questioned what we should do. Finally, one girl just got up and got the organizer – that was the best choice ever and I wouldn’t have even thought to do it. The problem was in his hands now. While I talk about Dante’s drunken antics, the whole event was relatively tame. Most of the people I talked to, didn’t even have a drink.
We all asked several questions of each other. I think these were the best ones to break the ice and get to know someone a little better and find some common ground.
- If money didn’t matter, what would you do? We all shared and found we had common enough interests – my friend was going to be a barista, Bob could play music there, I would emcee talent night and so-on. At that point, the conversation dovetailed into this luxury coffee made of coffee beans which cats poop out…
- What’s your roommate horror story? Because just about everyone has had a roommate and a story, even if it wasn’t the horrific.
- What’s the worse date you’ve been on?
- What was the best date you’ve ever been on? Most people talked about the person, but me and my friend talked more about the experience / what we did.
At the end of the night, I didn’t find a future husband or any job leads. But I stepped out of my comfort zone. I learned to talk to new people and keep an open mind. I know if I continue to attend networking event, it would help me build my confidence so I could approach anyone and have an interesting conversation with them. Even though we all had different jobs, there were so many common themes and connections. Overall, I had a good time and would totes go back.