There is that awkward moment at a local event when you are at a table and don’t know anyone. Recently I was in this situation and found an empty seat next to a table of strangers and I felt awkward about “breaking the ice” but I knew that it needed to happen.
From the conversation that was going on, I could tell the people next to me were Web Developers and there was a Project manager – oh, and me, a Salesforce Analyst.
Now if this were a Salesforce conference or community event like Tahoe Dreamin or Midwest Dreamin, I would have a common topic to discuss – SALESFORCE. However at non-Salesforce events, I feel I need to explain, evangelize and teach others about what a Salesforce or CRM Analyst is or does. Sometimes when my explanation falls flat (like today), I usually defer to talking about the mission of the nonprofit media org I work for.
On the other side, when I try to ask the web developers what they do, I am disappointed with the answers I get. I expect an answer about the type of projects and not the technology stack being used. Knowing that someone focuses on the “Ruby on Python JAMP stack” doesn’t really tell me what is done or why they do what they do.
After some attempts at finding a common technology topic to discuss, I sort of gave up. I decide to just focus on my stuff which means I escape to my iPhone. I open my email and see an advertisement for local restaurant. I mutter to myself “I wish I had a good idea for dinner tonight”.
That random statement sparked something. Next thing I hear is “you too?” from Matthew, the web developer next to me. “I didn’t set anything out to prepare for dinner either!” he exclaimed.
I asked “So what would you have set out?”, somewhat embarrassed that my thoughts turned into audible mumbles. This verbal mistake, however, turned into a real conversation.
Turns out Matthew has a killer chicken pot pie recipe for the slow cooker. We spent the next 30 minutes talking about food – recipes, techniques and flavors.
Not only did we share our cooking tips, but we shared our emails, so that we could send each other’s recipes. I made a new acquaintance based on nothing more than Chicken Pot Pie.
What did I learn at this event? I learned a lot of good stuff.
What will I remember from this event? I will remember Matthew and our discussion.
I am reminded of the Southeast Dreamin conferences from both 2016 and 2017. In 2016, Mary Scotton invited us to “have coffee” with people and make personal connections. In 2017, Chris Duarte asked us to consider our Work/Life balance so we can be a blessing to others. (See Chris’ Keynote talk here ) These talks inspire me to get into a mode of connecting with others and looking for ways to give back.
So if you find yourself wondering what you have in common with the person next to you, maybe you don’t have to try too hard. If you are next to me, try something that most people do – which is eat food.
Interested in the Chicken Pot Pie recipe? Let me know, cause I got a good one!
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