"some bits are sweeter than others, some zones are hotter to the touch" Heck. Yes. Admittedly, there are aspects of our living that act as shorthand to explain who we might be and what we could offer to the world, but it still sucks that a reputation like that must precede the invitation to know the guy-behind-the-guy. Even without the introduction, dare we dream that the first question out of our conversational partner's mouth isn't "So what do you do?" I love your invitation to catapult out of left field with a bag of bullshit, just to mix things up. It's been a better part of five years since I've choked through a networking event, but if I find myself in one again, you better believe I'm taking your advice!

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May 27, 2023Liked by Tobi Ogunnaike

I could feel your discomfort in this piece, Tobi. Ugh! Aside from asking people to fib (lol) what did you take away from that experience that you'll use the next time you're hosting?

Your experience reminded me of a couple of things, first, this episode of the Ezra Klein show called "If You're Reading This, You're Probably WEIRD" about our shared Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic tendency to build relationships leading with our individual attributes, like you were saying about your friend introducing everyone by their accomplishments. It was a great listen! https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-ezra-klein-show/id1548604447?i=1000614576551

Second, have you read The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker? She is fascinating and has so many tips on ways to gather in more meaningful, purpose-filled ways. I've been dying to try some of her techniques. A few highlights for me:

1. A few days before a party, ask guests to privately share something about themselves with you before the event that you can use as an intro to the group

2. Provide an unexpected prompt that gets people to open up, as much or as little as they want, when introducing themselves

3. Host a themed party that can be as seemingly silly as a "tomato party to celebrate my backyard harvest" or whatever.


Thanks for sharing this story, I hope we can all be better hosts for it!

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