Talking to strangers can be hard work. Yulu’s community cultivator Esther crowdsourced a few tips from friends and colleagues on how we could organize socials to be more accessible for introverts, or even anyone who might have limited energy to strike up a connection after a long day at work. On Wednesday we had an opportunity to see some of these practices and tips in motion when we gathered local B Corps on our rooftop for the B Corp summer social. Have a read and let us know what you think, or better yet, please share with us any tips or practices you might find helpful in these situations. Here it is in our latest blog post. (For anyone who’s wondering, Ashley’s name tag reads “Ask me about Drake.”)

 Yulu’s B Social Report + Networking Events Don’t Have to Exclude Introverts…How and Why?

On Wednesday, we gathered local B Corps and friends, then took to the rooftop of our building for sangria and snacks. In lieu of the usual monthly morning meet that B Lab hosts, we took over with a summer social for August.

The night before B Social, Esther posed a question to her Facebook friends: “how can I design the space and time of events to be more accessible for people who don’t have a lot of social energy to spare?” Originally, she just said ‘introverts’, but she also wanted to think beyond personality. She wants to organize events for Yulu, and all her passion projects, that are emotionally accessible for people who have social anxiety; extroverts who might shine in group conversation but struggle to make real connections with strangers; or people who are plain tired by their work week but attend out of some small obligation to themselves or others.

Here are some thoughts our community cultivator (Esther) on things we ought to consider when planning our next event, social, gala, dinner party, etc. The goal ultimately is to create a welcoming environment for anyone.

“Books and articles about attending events for introverts often revolve around self-care for the introverts in question. While we’re well-equipped to identify the problems, there’s still a lack of solutions. While I’m no stranger to organizing events, from small meetups to micro-festivals, they’re always planned with my personality archetype in mind. But if I’m designing events for one half of the personality spectrum, then I’m not fulfilling my role as an organizer. So here’s some crowdsourced answers from questions I posed on Facebook this week: “how can I design the space and time of events to be more accessible for people who don’t have a lot of social energy to spare?”

  • From G, introvert: Introductions. I either talk to people I already know, or leave if I don’t know anyone. My friend was a pro at introducing people to people and it helped so much. Figure out an easy way to introduce people to people and introverts will be thankful.
  • From J, introvert: If I can stand and listen to people talk without looking like a creepy weirdo, I’m in my happy place. Drinks are good for that (alcoholic or not, really – it’s a thing to put in your hand); knowing anyone else there helps; something to look at is a HUGE help. Things on screens that are not cell phone screens are great, because they make screen-watching social, and can be muted!
  • And Y, an extrovert: Put little stickers to write their name, and another sticker to write their topic of interest, or what they’re good at, or what they’re looking for, to visually identify if someone’s a waste of time and energy (or not). “Ah what a unique name. Hey I happen to be a cat-lover as well, I have 17 at home.” 

While I couldn’t find a screen on such short notice, I consciously introduced new guests to my colleagues and warmed them up to speak on camera, which went over well. I also added an “Ask me about _____” part to our nametags (which the Vinetta Showcase later that night also did – validation!). The suggestion from Y, the extrovert, had some interesting mixed results. It seemed to produce a bit of anxiety over it, from changing their name tags multiple times to the slightly odd way of question-asking that it produces. “So, cheeseburgers, eh?”

We asked people on-camera what being part of a B Corp meant to them. I said it meant seeing the value in values, and finding like-minded folks – the first step to any good five year plan for world domination.”

We’ll post the results from the footage soon. In the meantime, here’s a few more snapshots from the day.

We’ve really jumped in headfirst with building the B Corporation community in Vancouver. We hosted Flipside Creative, a young, quirky, creative agency that’s scrapped offices for a year and work remotely most of the time. They’ll converge on a different spot in the city every Wednesday, and a few weeks ago, it was at our offices. Veronica and Sadie brought us doughnuts from Cartem’s and told us about Createathon, which they’re doing this year.

Please feel free to leave a comment or email me or Esther with your thoughts: melissa@yulupr.com / esther@yulupr.com.