Going to networking events can be daunting. I love meeting new people and am very talkative and outgoing once I’m in a conversation, but am too often stuck behind the hurdle of introducing myself. That’s why last night’s event, The Hello Project, hosted by Future Boston and Startup Institute, was such a breath of fresh air. The mission of the event was simple: go say hello to someone you’ve never met before. Here are some things I learned.
1. SERIOUSLY, JUST GO SAY HI
It’s really easy to get in your head about introducing yourself to a stranger. “What if we don’t have anything to talk about,” “What if I’m awkward,” “What if they think I’m hitting on them?” are all very common thoughts to have at a time like this. Now listen carefully: Just get over it. The hardest part is 100% walking over and saying hi. And if it doesn’t work out, you can always politely excuse yourself, but you’ll never know until you try.
2. HAVE SOMETHING UP YOUR SLEEVE
If you’re anxious about what happens after the initial “hello,” make sure you come prepared. Know your first question and your own answer. The first person who introduced herself to me last night had a great question: “What’s something you’re excited about for the next 48 hours?” Super open ended, really engaging, and much more interesting than “So what do you do?”.
3. STRANGERS ARE AWESOME
Everyone’s out there in the world doing something cool. Don’t let not being able to say “hi” keep you from finding out what’s new and different.
Such a fun event, and such a great reminder of how important it is to find acommunity. Here’s to Boston!