When you meet new people, do you ever just irrationally HATE them?

This is a little embarrassing to admit, but here goes:

A few weeks ago, I locked my bike up outside this juice bar in Portland, a tight ball of nausea in the bottom of my stomach.

I was at WDS – the conference World Domination Summit, where do-gooders (like me) try and make the world a better place – and arriving at my first ‘meet-up’. These are impromptu gatherings thrown by attendees. I had my own one the following day, a short workshop on How To Tell Compelling Stories. But this one at the juice bar was a storytelling meet-up being thrown by someone else – a lady I’d never met before, and was a bit scared of.

Two days before, I’d (finally, very last-minute) decided to put on my own meet-up about storytelling. As I scrolled through those other people had posted, I realised that there was already one happening on the same subject. Gutted at first, I then looked into the details and decided it was ok for both to exist. This one, by a lady called Sara Hunt, was going to be about how to figure out which of your own stories to tell. Mine was more about how to tell your stories. Also, hers was already full, so I figured it was even more ok to put mine on.

But I am a perennial people pleaser, and I was still worried that she’d be annoyed. So I sent her an email.

In it, I explained what I felt the differences were between our two workshops, and told her I’d love to meet her at some point – which was true; from her website and blog, she seemed cool and interesting. Then, I asked whether, if there ended up being a free spot, I could come along to her meet-up.

It took me about 20 minutes of writing and rewriting to compose this last question.

What if she thought I was just coming along to steal her ideas? What if she was annoyed that I was running my own storytelling meet-up and it made her not like me?

My fears were trumped by how much I wanted to go, so I asked. To my relief, I got a reply saying she’d love to have me along.

But now, I was actually here…

READ MORE

How to Avoid Small Talk – with the Perfect Question (VIDEO)

My friend was once in a queue and overheard the man behind him loudly declaring, “You see, I’m the kind of guy who really doesn’t like to line up. I like to just get in and get out. But this? Not for me.”

I feel about him the way I feel about the kind of smug, annoying person who…

READ MORE

Made a Dork of yourself in front of a VIP? Here’s how to deal. ASK (YES YES) MARSH (VIDEO)

Acting like a dork in front of someone we want to impress. We’ve ALL done it. There’s a reason why the video where I introduced you to your Dork Goblin – aka the spirit that comes down to possess you when you’re speaking to someone you want to impress, and makes you act the opposite of how…

READ MORE

Eight Things I Learned From Going Naked Camping

We sat in the car, giggling.
“We’re not even allowed to walk in the car park with our clothes on!” my friend said.
“Really? Really?? Hang on – I can see some people on the patio. They’re CLOTHED!!” I was outraged. Or maybe just super-nervous.

She looked over. “Not all of them are. Come on”
She started whipping off her pants and t shirt, and I did the same.
“I’m going to wear a hat,” she said.
“I don’t have one!” I wailed. “I’m going to wear my back pack. At least then I can fiddle with the straps.”

Finally, we got out of the car…

READ MORE

Top Ten Tips – Networking for Introverts (that’s actually FUN & EASY!) [VIDEO]

Having just come back from World Domination Summit – a giant conference of 3,000 do-gooders in Portland – and having actually enjoyed myself, I thought it was about time I shared a Top Ten of advice for anyone who’s off to a conference or event, thinks that they hate networking, and is REALLY NERVOUS.

Here you go. My favourite is pencil-mouth lady. Yours?

READ MORE

Feel Like Everyone Else Has Their Sh–t Together and You Don’t? Do This Now

At certain moments in life, your emotional response to a situation is so extreme – and so inappropriate for your immediate circumstances – that you have to do everything in your power to hide it. Use every ounce of strength to construct your features into a shape that would suggest that you feel the opposite of the way you actually do.

Getting broken up with by someone you’ve not been seeing for very long, that’s one.

I remember another: I’d been working at Virgin Megastores’ in-store radio station for a few months, but I didn’t want to be there…

READ MORE

Why You Should Ask Strangers Personal Questions

Something very weird happened on Tuesday night.

Or, if not weird, then… alchemical might be the word. I had actually fully intended to write a blog about something else – some straight up networking advice (like I gave you here and here). But I’m still reeling from that evening and feel like I have to tell you about it.

It started innocently enough…

READ MORE

How To Deal With Boring Conversations

I grabbed the stranger by her shoulders and she stopped talking, mid-sentence – shocked.

“Dude,” I lowered my voice, and looked straight in her eyes. “What. Makes you think. That I care this much about you? You called this meeting. I have a lot to do today. I don’t even want to be here. STOP. TALKING. ONLY. ABOUT. YOURSELF. It is SO. BORING.”

READ MORE

Shy, Going To A Party and Feeling Nervous? TEN TIPS

I GASPED AWAKE.

After three seconds of confused, soft stillness, everything caught up and my headache came crashing in.

Squinting at the clock – it was 11:30am – I tried to piece together what was going on.

Oh yes. The Christmas party.

I was 22 years old and very, very hungover. The night before…

READ MORE

What I Learned from being a Zombie Nun Designated Dancer at Queer Slow Dance

I bit my lip, and hit “reply” to the text message.

‘That sounds exciting and scary’, I wrote. ‘Can I think about it and let you know?’

My friend Erin had just asked whether I would join her to be a Designated Dancer at Queer Slow Dance.

Queer Slow Dance is a regular night in Toronto (and Montreal) that pretty much does what it says on the tin. And my job as a Designated Dancer would be to spend two hours asking strangers to slow dance with me, gently easing the wallflowers from their seats and helping them to feel included.

It sounded terrifying.

Partly because of the concept. Slow dancing isn’t really a thing we DO in the UK. My only experience was once, at my summer camp, when a Much Older Boy asked me if I’d slow dance with him. I remember finding it awkward and a bit too grown up to be comfortable.
But I was most scared of having to walk up to strangers and ask them to dance.

What if they say no?

What if EVERYONE says no?…

READ MORE

Page 1 of 3