Meeting new people is exciting. I do it as much as I can when I travel, when I race, when I work - even when I'm home at the local coffee shop or our athletic club. It seems that when I extend my hand in introduction, someone is there to share a conversation.
So, when Jodi and I had just one week until leaving for our presentation series in Venice, Italy in February, I decided to ask for a "meet up." According to Wiktionary, a meet up is an arranged informal meeting ( en.wiktionary.org/wiki/meetup ); so, we planned ours for Wednesday, the 18th of February.Now, I have put the invitation to these out before, but always in American cities - and usually really, really close, like in Ojai, CA! (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ojai,_CA) Generally I wind up sharing a meal or a workout with a few of my friends who I've known for a while, but neither Jodi or I had a great big group of friends in Venice.
It started with a Tweet. From there a note on Facebook. Later on, an email between me and one person. Next, a "connection" on LinkedIn, and finally a phone call via Skype! And, we DID it! 4 of us met for lunch, in Venice!
Andrea, a productivity devotee in Turino (http://www.recuperandoiltempo.com), set the momentum going. He even invited HIS network to the lunch (mind you, he and I had never met, and he would have to travel 4 hours to get to Venice to have lunch with us!). Alex, a senior manager (http://www.strategievincenti.net)at with local manufacturer also took a good portion of his day to meet with us.
We met up for a quick conversation at The Bauer Hotel (*****, by the way!). That 30 minute discussion was enough for us to introduce ourselves, get to share some stories, and decide that "yes," we would all go and break bread together.We walked to lunch, enjoyed another couple of hours together, and eventually bid adieu after a walk to the train station. I could go on and on about my experience over lunch that day, but I will share my 3 big takeaways from this meetup:
1) A stranger: Just a friend I have not yet shared a meal with. Something happens when a new friend picks his (or her) plate up, and says, "You've got to try this, here, just put some on your plate." (Thank you Alex!)
2) Opportunity: I gotta (and I mean I GOT TO) get out there. This was our first day in Italy, and it would have been very easy for Jodi and I to say, "Oh, I kinda got jet lag, let's not do this meet up thing..."
3) Follow up: I've got some to-dos that I'm still managing because of ideas and agreements we came up with over lunch that day! I'm SO glad I wrote them down!
Andrea @andreaaresca, Alex @alexreif, Jason @jasonwomack and Jodi @jodiwomack