By now I’m sure most if not all people who will read this blog post are on Twitter, and many have likely attended a local Tweetup or planned to meet some of their friends and followers at a conference or trade show. The awkward part is that many times you have no idea what their real names are, and in some cases have no idea what they look like by their avatar. I’ve been to a few Tweetups so far, and much of the initial conversation consists of figuring out who’s who. It’s also very easy to forget everyone’s name once introduced, falling back on their Twitter handles for identification.
I have a few tips for overcoming this awkwardness, and for strengthening the networking aspect of tweetups.
- Pass a sign-in sheet around. Make it multi-column and ask for Twitter handle, real name, and leave a 3rd column open to trap any info pertinent to the Tweetup (expertise, hobbies, or what have you). Make sure everyone signs in, and then distribute copies (electronic or otherwise) to everyone who attended.
- Hold one of those often-deemed silly introductions around the table once everyone’s there. Often used in business training or kickoff meetings, these can be excellent tools to expedite getting comfortable with your group. Very basic info can be used: name, Twitter handle, and an interesting factoid. While some treat it as a dry exercise, I’ve found some interesting information about co-workers using this exercise that helped me get to know them better. One actually wrote and directed a sci-fi B-movie, and another was a guitarist in a rock band whose video was one of the first 5 to ever be played on Mtv!
- Use name tags! Avoid the awkward “Who are you, again?” moments by slapping your name on your chest. Have the organizer of the Tweetup (or a volunteer) make them for all confirmed attendees. It can be as simple as a piece of paper and a safety pin, or you can go all out with lanyards (great promo opportunity for your local business!) and glossy card holders. I have mocked up a suggestion for one below.
Just because it’s a Tweetup doesn’t mean it has to be completely informal and disorganized (not that they all are, by any means). A little planning and creativity can make the event a success, build stronger networks, and even get some advertising out for businesses willing to donate a few inexpensive supplies.
Here’s hoping your next Tweetup is a success!