Cory and I hit the road for a Dribbble meetup in Austin this week. It was Cory’s first meet up ever—I thought it would be good for him to check it out.

It’s about a 150 mile round trip to Austin from where we live so it’s a bit of a trek for us but it’s really worth it. I met Aaron Dowd at one of these Dribbble meetups in Austin. Aaron, as many of you know, was the original co-host of the seanwes podcast. Now, Ben is my co-host but Aaron edits the podcast and he’s also going to be coming on to the seanwes network with a podcast.

With conferences, there’s a lot of expenses—travel, food, hotel—but meetups are like mini conferences. You still get to connect with people and it’s not so expensive.

Magic happens at meetups.

You connect with people, build relationships, and build friendships.

Who knows what would have happened if Aaron and I would have never met! Who knows if the seanwes podcast would have become what it’s become now or maybe I never would have started the podcast. It all could have been just because of that one meeting at a meetup.

Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

That’s why we take time out of our busy schedules—we want to connect with people. That’s hard as an introvert! Cory and I are both introverted, which makes it hard to be outgoing and meet people. Being in front of people and talking not something that comes naturally for me but it’s something I’ve had to practice.

I recharge by being alone, being at home, making music, and writing. Going out and meeting people takes energy for me but it’s totally worth it. Make the effort to find someone who might be standing in a corner because they came alone and they’re shy—just go say hi to them. All you have to do is say, “Hey, how’s it going? What do you do? What are you here for?” They’re in the same boat as you. They’re nervous about this too and they’re going there hoping something happens. Be that person to go talk with them.

As a kid, I was super nervous. I would go to Sunday School at church when I was 5 or 6 years old and I would stand behind the door for the entire class. When my dad found out I was doing this, he sat me down with another kid and he had us play rock, paper, scissors. After that, I was fine! It just took that initial warming up.

If we’re gonna go out of our way to do to drive 150 miles, you better believe we’re going to make it worth it. We’re going to talk to people and we’re going make sure that this was worth our time. I would just encourage you, if you’re thinking about going to meetups or conferences—just do it! I can’t even tell you how great they are (Related: tv044 How to Get the Most Out of Conferences).

The best part of meetups, conferences, or any kind of networking events is being able to put faces to names.

First Impressions & Meeting People In Person

You follow people, you see them online, you see their posts, you read what they write, you see their tweets, but it’s not the same as getting to shake their hand and talk with them in person. The spontaneity of the conversations is totally different than what you can have online.

It’s great to see people that you know online in person but sometimes those online relationships actually start in person. You can meet people you never would have met otherwise! Sometimes, those relationships start with a handshake and talking face-to-face. Being able to hand someone a letterpress coaster in person is really cool, you know? You can’t give someone a letterpress coaster digitally. That’s something you need to feel with your hands. It creates a totally different impression when you meet someone in person.

You can’t beat one-on-one interaction.

You can give someone a first impression on your website but it’s nothing like meeting someone in person. Locking eyes and talking in person is great because you’re the only two people talking in that moment. It’s not a tweet where you reply to them and then you get distracted by something else. They know that they’re having a real conversation with you right now—it’s just about you and them. That first impression is something you can’t get unless you go to something like a meetup.

This is a little bit of a different style video for seanwes tv but I hope you enjoyed going behind the scenes and coming along with us for the journey.

While we were at the meetup, we ran into Community member! We never would have met Justin in person, gone to dinner, or got to talk together had we not come out of our comfort zones, and in our case, traveled up to Austin to go meet people.

I hope this is just an encouragement for you, even if you’re an introvert, to get outside your comfort zone and take a chance on a meetup. Go out, hang out with people—cool stuff can happen.