Many people I know are looking for their next opportunity – freelancing, consulting, full-time or part-time jobs. One of my friends asked me if I could recommend any meetups that weren’t specifically about tech, but more like support groups for independent people. I couldn’t think of any close by, so I set up a get-together at a nearby cafe and invited a few people whom I knew were looking for stuff.
That was today at Red Bean Espresso, and it worked out wonderfully. I was a little worried about the politeness of holding space during the coffee rush hour of 4:30 or so, but things worked out decently, and we squeezed quite a few people around the large communal table there. I tipped the server extra; I think she was the only one running the whole show!
After we settled in, I confessed that I’m still learning how to bring people together and asked people for help figuring this out. We did a round of introductions where everyone shared what they needed help with and what they could help others with. It turns out that people sometimes have oddly synchronous needs and capabilities, things that I might never have found out about in one-on-one conversations or even mingling in groups of three or four at networking events. Things flowed from large conversations into smaller ones, people moved around, conversations reconfigured. It was awesome!
I’ve got another get-together to go to this evening — another friend’s housewarming — but I’m looking forward to following up on this event. I want to practise bringing people together and helping them. I want to learn how to connect the dots. =)