My favorite Meetup every month is the Sacramento Speakers Meetup (See https://www.meetup.com/sacramentospeakersnetwork/). It’s a Meetup with more than 2,500 members, of whom 35-75 show up at any given meeting.
There are many reasons for this. First, I’ve been going to this Meetup for more than ten years, so I know lots of people
Second, the format is absolutely amazing. I’m not sure how my friend Stephanie Chandler (see http://nonfictionauthorsassociation.com/) came up with the format, but it’s truly genius. It starts with 30-second introductions. People are encouraged to promote their businesses, so they can encourage networking later.
Do the math. At 30 seconds per person, you actually use up maybe 35 or 40 seconds on average. So this part of the program takes about half an hour. Someone always tells a joke. People laugh. Someone else just started a business an gets a round of applause. Someone says something funny unintentionally and ever fourth person after that refers to it.
In other words, the group begins to develop rapport and comradery right from the start.
Next, there are short presentations by speakers who have signed up. One is ten minutes and the other is twenty. Each gets some feedback and coaching.
Finally, there’s the “Five minutes in the spotlight.” A card is picked from the bucket and an attendee gets to ask the rest of the group for help. For example:
- How do I get attendees to my event?
- What should I call the three levels of this program?
- How do I get started with video to promote my event?
- How do I get bookings with schools?
- How do I attract more joint ventures?
This is the juicy fun part of the meeting. Even though there are usually only two or three opportunities for the “Five minutes in the spotlight,” this is where the entire crowd throws out recommendations, book titles, web resources, apps, and other resources. The goal is to help the person who asked for help. But in the meantime, everyone in the room is feverishly writing down the books and other resources that are mentioned.
If you haven’t read Unleashing the Ideavirus by Seth Godin, you should!
Godin talks about how ideas spread like viruses. And certain people are “Promiscuous Sneezers” of ideas. In other words, they are people who casually say things like, “If you haven’t read this book, you should. It’s amazing.” And they do this a lot. All the time.
You should hang out with Promiscuous Sneezers for one simple reason: They will help you filter the world of overwhelming information. Promiscuous Sneezers are usually mavens with regard to the topics at which they excel. That means they’re well informed and spend both time and energy getting good at it. So when they casually throw you some advice, it’s probably worth taking!
I miss a lot of meetings of the Sacramento Speakers Network due to travel. But I always make it when I’m in town because it’s a room filled with really smart, motivated, Promiscuous Sneezers.
I hope you have a similar group where you live. If not, start one!