Humble Pie Tastes Like Beer!

Yesterday evening, I more or less “hosted” the first “official” Happy Hour event for a LinkedIn group I’m part of here in VA (if you aren’t a part of LinkedIn by now, you are either behind the times, or foolish–just my humble opinion). The main reason I did the “hosting” is because I happened to be the one who stepped up and said, “Let’s make this group work for us!” and all I did was set up a date, time, and place for the meeting to happen.  After all, I figure there isn’t much purpose in wasting time setting up a profile on a website if you aren’t going to make use of the contacts you can meet through it.  I figured that if I could loosely facilitate some relatively impromptu networking, it would put me in a better position to be that guy who puts people together who need each other.  That’s my ultimate goal, I guess–when two people don’t know each other but for because of you, and a friendship or some business referrals come out of it, it’s a happy day for everyone.  I like to be the guy who introduces people to each other.

So anyway–all day, I worked at my job, the same way everyone else does, and all day, all I could think about was this event that was to take place tonight–right after work, in fact.  If one could’ve listened to my internal monologue over the course of the first hour or so, it would’ve sounded something like this:

“Hey, what do I care if no one shows up?  It’s Happy Hour–I get to sit around and drink beer regardless.”

“Hmmm…maybe I should’ve prepared a speech or something for this?  Nah, that’s silly…no one will come to hear a guy give a speech at happy hour.  Do yourself a favor and keep everything short and sweet.  And sit up straighter.”

“Man…it’s been about half an hour and no one is here…It’s okay, I’m cool with it…but if I really was, would I have to tell myself I am?  I guess I’ll sit with my hands folded…no wait, that’s too proper…don’t slouch, it makes you look submissive…but it looks weird if I just sit with them both on the table like this…here, I’ll put out a few business cards arranged in a fan pattern so it’s obvious I’m not here waiting on a girl or something…the server just gave me a funny look about the cards, what was that about?…maybe if I face this way, toward the door, people will see me…well of course they’ll see you, you told the host guy at the front to point people in your direction.  Stop slouching!

“So for next time, I guess I’ll try a Friday night, or maybe something a little more structured, or maybe I’ll put more effort into hyping it more…or maybe I should– “Actually, yes I am with the LinkedIn thing.  Thanks for coming!  What’s your name?”

And then it happened.  The first–and only–person to come up and greet me last night was a gentleman (we’ll call him Jim) who I found to be a perfect example of the type of people I was hoping to meet at this event.  I have a couple of very close friends (and many great acquaintances) who I’ve met at these meetings because I tend to connect well with people who have a “How can I help you?” mentality rather than a “How can you help me?” one–and Jim was definitely the latter.  I enjoyed his company (and found the Martzen at this brewery to be fantastic), and we called it an evening around eight o’clock.
Humble Pie Should At Least Taste Good!

Despite “only” one person coming, I think it was a success if for no other reason than the fact that I got a lot of great, hard data to draw from the next time I try to organize one of these things.  I learned some lessons about the crowd in this area of the country, and about timing, and even managed to test my own confidence (and succeed).  I really have always been confident enough to go to dinner by myself, but I’ve never been left alone at my house on Party Night.  I guess that’s why all of the Greats say that humility is a virtue worth embracing.  Who wants some pie?

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  1. Nicely written Jeff, and I love pie! See you next time.

    Howard (Jim)

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