The hardest step is the first one, but it doesn’t have to be. Let’s start with two key questions that will help you roll forward.
What Do I Do First?
Have you defined the purpose of the group? It doesn’t have to be fancy, but you need some semblance of purpose. Not sure? Start with something simple like “I want to hang out with other people interested in _______.”
Next, set a date, decide on a location (preferably with food and/or drink), call a meeting and spread the word by inviting the people you know who are interested in the topic and ask them to spread the word too.
Tip: Make it easy for people to recognize you. In your communication, tell people how they can recognize you and where they will find you – “I’m wearing a blue cap and an Atari t-shirt and I’ll be at the round table in the back”.
People are Here, So, What Do I Do Now?
So, you have everyone together, what’s next? Well, hopefully people will start chatting. Informal introductions are good, but it’s up to you to say hi to people, introduce yourself and attempt to get folks involved. Nothing fancy, just be friendly.
Tip: Try to come with a few questions, topics or ideas to discuss to kick off conversations and reduce conversation gaps.
As the event rolls forward, gauge people’s interest – are they having fun? would they like to meet up regularly? Hopefully you’ll get a yes on both counts or you’ll learn how to improve the next one. It’s time to set the follow-up gathering. You might want to do this while everyone’s there to see when they would like to meet next, or you can set up the next meeting later if that’s more convenient. Make sure to set up the next meeting shortly after the first.
Wash, Rinse, Repeat
Maintain your momentum. If this is fun, keep it going by setting regular meetings. In time you can decide if you like the group exactly as it is, or if you want to step up, which we’ll cover in an upcoming post.