Take the leap.

Is meeting #IRL worth it?

So I walk into a bar last night, and proceed to have one of the best conversations of the year.

With a total stranger. Possible? You bet.

Why?

Openness.

I’d arranged to meet the owner of this bar so I could discuss hosting the next Orangutan Swing event there. More about that soon, when the details are confirmed.

But how do I choose these venues? Since hosting live events in Durham starting in early 2011, I’ve been learning bit by bit how to approach and setup this kind of thing, so that what you want to get out of it works well with what the people who have the venues want to. There’ve been some wins and many more fails, but I’m getting the hang of it as I go. Great dialogues. You don’t just wander in, and hope for it. You can make tactical moves to set up awesome conversations because there are some practical steps you can follow to ensure you both walk away inspired.

Walk away inspired

Notice I didn’t say, “Walk away with an action plan.”

I said, “Walk away inspired.”

In the process, I realized WHY we even do these dialogues in the first place. Something about getting out of the box of home, just hanging out with Akira and discussing OS, helped me really reflect in a new setting on the purpose of it. Interesting to me how a simple pint and face time can lead to such insight.

Here’s how it went.

Me: So the real reason I want to host these dialogues, is because I want people to relax.
Them: Uh-huh.
Me: I mean, I want people to just get over this thing, that they have to go to an event and get something out of it. Know what I mean?
Them:
Me: Like, “Am I gonna get a job? A job lead? Is this meeting going to be useful to me in some way? Am I going to get laid?” You know? There has to be some reason to have a meeting face to face…
Them: Yeah!
Me: Well, the thing is. My mother’s a psychiatrist. And all my life I saw her prescribing things for really what would have probably been okay to just talk about, with someone. In person. In real life.
Them:
Me: Like, just have a chat about something! Find out you’re not the only one who thinks something! Find out there are whole other ways to think about things!

At this point, I was almost standing in my chair.

That’s what I loved about Ireland, you know? I could just relax, talk, not have to have an agenda or answer a ridiculous question like, “What do you do, and wait for someone else to size me up and decide if I was worth talking to or not.

Publishing a book about my experiences in Ireland, and how I eloped there 11 years ago, has been really cool, because I’m able to flex the muscles of description and give people all the time they need to get to know me through my 71 pages of e-bookness. It’s weird, and interesting, to be able to communicate in this way. Personal, dense, and all of that. Not wrapped up in a tidy sound bite for someone who just wants to know, in a second, if I’m worth a conversation.

Now I know that I have to conserve my energy. I have to have conversations where they’ll be good. I know how to make sure they’ll be good, because we’ve run 19 roundtable dialogues so far this year and are on our way to 30 for the “Year of Dialogue.”

Akira and I are writing about how to make a dialogue good, too. You know what I mean? This isn’t rocket science. It’s part psychology, part quantum physics, and mostly trust in people’s ability to share the best of themselves when they have the space to hold the space to say what they feel. –DK

More about the book we’re putting together in a future post, when we get closer. But do tell us what questions you’d want answered in it?