Look, you’re going to be attending meetups. Let’s just get that out of the way right now. Love ‘em or leave ‘em, meetups are an essential component to the modern tech space, where one’s soft skills are just as important as technical ability, and this can be downright terrifying. For a person who is not naturally a human golden retriever making friends with anyone and everyone, the mental roadblocks to not only surviving but thriving in the modern meetup atmosphere are formidable to say the least. Heck, even for someone naturally drawn to such social events, the prospect of a meetup after a long day of work might seem less than ideal. Either way, let’s go through a solid game plan so we all can make the most of our meetup adventures from here on out, shall we?
1. Just go! The biggest part of the battle is the mental part of following through on what you signed up for. It can be nerve-racking, and let’s face it, they’re awkward, but once you’re there it’s easier.
2. Bring a wingman. It’s so much easier to slingshot off of someone else and piggyback on their conversations when you’re just kind of standing around awkwardly.
3. Initiate conversation. Everyone else is in the same boat as you: they’re there for a reason, so be the bigger person and give them the lifeline by starting a conversation.
4. Read body language. Don’t butt into “closed” conversations. Find conversations where people are standing open, or better yet, go talk to the super shy person hiding in the corner.
5. Follow up. After the meetup, follow up with people that you connected with with a brief “thank you”.
6. Don’t imbibe too much. Lots of drinks are there for a reason, but don’t be sloppy.
7. Give to your network. One of the core principles of being a networker is that you’re always looking to give to your network. Help people and actively listen so you can make appropriate intros and such.
8. Fake it ‘til you make it: Act like you’re comfortable and at home, despite the fact that you wanna make a break for the door. You have to start somewhere, and once you meet people it’ll be easier to ride that momentum into more natural conversations.
So there you have it, some solid pointers to make your next meetup really count. You’re gonna crush it, we believe in you! If you happen to see any of us from the KJ Technical team, please come up to say hey, get a high-five, chest bump, or whatever; don’t be a stranger! We love Denver and the white hot tech scene our beautiful home has going on, and we pride ourselves in being quality members of this dynamic community. See you around!