I’ve just had an amazing, inspiring, conversation with two friends over a beer. Nothing usual there then. Except it wasn’t your average Monday night pub chat.
The three of us were separated by thousands of miles. So far, in fact, that Google maps can’t calculate directions to them. A little searching reveals one is 426 miles north of me, the other 4,708 miles south west.
We have met only once in real life.
Yet these people get me. They get what I do, what I want to do, and why I do it. They push me to do things I don’t think I’m capable of. They tell me how it is. They spot the things I cant see. They don’t mind the fact that I can’t type or spell, or that I was eating a burger through much of our chat!
But enough of how great my friends are – that isn’t really the point of this post. What I’m trying to demonstrate is that people like this are out there. People that think like you think. People that want what you want. That are going through what you are.
We have an amazing privilege that would have been unthinkable two decades ago. We can connect with anyone in the world, for a few pounds per month spent on an internet connection.
We no longer have to select our friends from those who live in the same post code, city, country or even continent. The world can connect with us. Our team can be a tiny tiny slice of the whole f-ing planet’s population. That’s 2.4 billion people you can reach.
Your team is out there. It’s negligent not to connect with them.
It might seem like you’re trying to find a needle in a haystack though – how do you find the people out there, since there are so many possible connections? Here are 5 great options:
1 – Twitter
The conversation you want to join is almost certainly already happening on twitter. Use the search facility, follow a few hashtags, strike up a conversation with someone who seems interesting by just saying hi and introducing yourself. Linda describes Twitter as a virtual cocktail party, to which you’re invited – treat it like this and you’ll find your circle in no time.
2 – Blogs
This might sound obvious, but have you done it? You read blogs about your chosen subject right? Have you connected with the author of your favourite blog? Have you followed the links to the sites of a few of the people who’ve commented? These folks are clearly into what you are, and in my experience, will welcome the chance to interact with a cool, like-minded person like you. I met Sarah by commenting on her blog. I then happened to sit next to a close friend of hers on a plane, before meeting her two days later. Connection eh?
3 – Conferences
Again obvious, but I’ve found them the most successful place of all for meeting cool people. Pick an event that looks interesting and sign up. These things are often about the people you meet more than the content. If you can meet one or two of your team there, not only will they be great allies in your endeavours, they can probably introduce you to another few people in your niche. There’s nothing like a personal introduction, even in the days of mass open social networks. If you do go down this route, don’t try to meet everyone. A few deeper connections are worth many superficial ones.
4 – Meetup / Eventbrite
Can’t afford to attend a big name conference? Have a look on these sites for what’s happening in your town. They’re full of small sessions which cover many many topics. There’s probably something out there near you for cheap or free, and the value of a real life interaction is huge. Dont know where to start? How about this worldwide series?
5 – Create your own event
If all else fails – or actually even if it doesn’t, the tools above give you the opportunity to create and organise your own meet up that’s entirely what you want it to be. You might not be organising the next SXSW any time soon, but remember, the inspiring conversation that started this post happened between three of us. It’s about quality not quantity in our connections. If you can find one person who you can help on their way as they help you, then you’ll be infinitely more likely to succeed. Want some tips on how to go about it? This free book from Michelle will have you hosting beautifully in no time.
So what are you waiting for? Go. Connect.
Go. Go. Go!