One of the reasons entrepreneurs don’t get out and meet other people is the claim that they don’t have time. Some say they can’t fit in extra networking events, workshops and seminars. That’s fine. In fact, you’re more likely to have a memorable connection outside the confines of the typical meet-and-greet situations.
I don’t like coffee meetings or networking events anyway. I’d much rather have fun and expose a new contact to something I actually do care about. It’s also nice to do something that I’d be doing anyway so the meeting incorporates an activity I enjoy. Wouldn’t you?
Consider these five meeting ideas to not only save time, but give you a chance to share a bit more of who you both are, which can make your meetings more fun and memorable.
Work Out Together
This is my all-time favorite. I’ve met new friends for a yoga class, taken them on a hike, walk, run or even do intense physical challenges and events together. Nothing cuts through the usual networking B.S. faster than a little moving, breathing and sweat to go with it. You could invite someone to one of your favorite workouts or join theirs. You’ll be far more engaged than if you were sitting at a coffee shop staring at each other, and it’s less awkward for new contacts. Plus, you’ll get a little exercise — and a break from the constant sitting most office work requires.
Play a Sport
Golf is a standard choice of mine, but there are many others. Head to the batting cages, join a pickup basketball game or hire a coach or trainer to teach you something totally new for an hour. If you know your contact’s favorite sport, then perhaps find a way to participate with them.
Enjoy a Unique Meal
I’m a huge fan of lunch. Everyone needs to eat, and it’s a nice way to interact with new people. But don’t just do lunch for the sake of it. Make it an experience. I have a favorite tea house where I know all the servers. I get to tell my new contact the interesting story of how the owner had to pitch 72 banks before he got a business loan for the place. The point is this: any spin on the normal can be much more engaging.
Share a Passion
Someone once invited me to a San Francisco Giants game. I’m not a huge sports fan, but I knew he was, so I thought it would be fun to share the experience. It was the most exciting game I’d ever watched, simply because he was so into it. Similarly, I love inviting people to TEDx events in San Francisco. As soon as I find out about an event, I’ll immediately buy two tickets, often long before I know who I will invite.
Work With Them
I was recently invited to spend the day at a mutual favorite spot to work side-by-side. I’d never been asked on a “working date” before, but he explained how it would keep us both accountable to our projects and give us a chance to share our breaks, inspiration and ideas together throughout the day. We spent most of the day silently writing and drinking tea. And every so often, we’d chat and share ideas. We also had contests to see whether we could both finish a project before the next break. I loved it.
The point of these unconventional meeting ideas is to share a little more of yourself than usual and to have a lot more fun in the process. Soon, you’ll also notice that you have a lot more time for “meetings.”
This article has been edited and condensed.
Scott Dinsmore is an entrepreneur, career change strategist, ultra-runner and founder of Live Your Legend, a business and international community dedicated to helping you build a career around work that genuinely excites you — and surround yourself with the people who make it possible. Watch his million-view TEDx talk on How to Find & Do Work You Love and download the free Passionate Work Toolkit to join the worldwide revolution. Connect with @scott_dinsmore on Twitter.
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