It’s happened before
It’s probably happened to you before. I know it has happened to me. Having gone to a conference, perhaps travelled many miles, researched who would be there, made a list of people to talk to, sent some emails – and yet here I am at the conference wandering around on my own. While I love going places on my own – I love the peace of it – I like it less at an event or a conference.
But sometimes it’s worse
Strolling around is ok though. It is when resources are limited such as seats in the packed dining area, seats at a bar, spaces in a taxi or bus – this is when the attendee can really feel stranded the most.
And you see it happening. You’re the lucky one because you got here early. Maybe some of those other folks will eat standing up. It could have been you, but well, it isn’t.
So, what have you typically done in this situation?
The art of how to rescue someone
In this situation, you simply have to rescue someone. Honestly, this is some of the best connection time there is. Next time you see that person scanning the dining area, offer them a seat. Say ‘hey, there is a place here and you’re welcome to it if you want it’.
Even if they don’t take the seat, they will be immensely grateful that you are considerate enough to shout out and invite them.
But most likely, they will and when they sit down, it doesn’t matter who they are – they can be the CEO of Google – and they will ask about you with genuine interest, enjoy spending time with you, connect with you and if possible, pay you back in some way for just being an all-around good person who takes care of those around them. We all want to be in the company of people like that.
From rescue to relationship
Of course, it also really helps if you are thinking one step ahead. If you know the best restaurants in the area, the best invite-only parties, the other events that are really great – then you can either invite them there or say, ‘hey maybe see you there’.
Meeting this person, a second time transforms you from ‘nice stranger’ to ‘person I know’ and who knows, maybe when you get to that VIP party later, this is the person who will stop you from being alone at the bar.
When you get an opportunity to help people, to connect with them, to have real moments of access to god-knows-who, and when you get the chance to not eat alone (or at least eat with ‘more’ people), then you should really take it and let karma pay you back in kind.