The name of the Meetup alone, Team Awesome, got me excited about the potential of meeting some really cool people. With 67 people RSVPed, I was ready to mix and mingle with NYC’s most awesome. The location of the Meetup, Barcade, was just the icing on the cake.
When I arrived at Barcade, the place was packed. After making my way to the bar for a drink, and to exchange dollars for game tokens, I began my hunt for Team Awesome. Initially, I was looking for some sort of signage or reserved area, but didn’t find anything. So then I began asking individual groups of people if they were a part of Team Awesome. I was unsuccessful as there were apparently several work/friend groups having gatherings at Barcade.
Feeling defeated in being able to connect with anyone from Team Awesome, I played some games, finished my drink, and left. In reflecting back in the evening, several ingredients were missing from this event that would’ve made the group feel much more like a community:
1) Dedicated Space
Waking around Barcade looking for Team Awesome was a game of blind darts. Without any signage or communication around where to meet, I had to walk up to random groups of people. Doing so was a serious test for my ambivert self. I can only imagine what it would be like for a true blooded introvert to do the same. Make sure there is clear signage and that all your members know where to meet, especially if you are going to be one of many groups in the same physical space. There are sites like https://www.supercheapsigns.com/ where you can easily obtain signs, so there is really no excuse for members to be wandering around aimlessly like I was.
2) Welcoming Crew/Connector
I felt lost and overwhelmed the moment I walked into Barcade. Like Ingredient #1, it would’ve been great if someone with a Team Awesome shirt had greeted me upon entering. Even better if they would’ve then connected me with other members of Team Awesome, so I no longer had to feel like a lone wolf.
In walking around the bar, I wasn’t sure if I was early or late to connecting with Team Awesome. Did they already meet up and then dispersed to play different games? Or was it time to meet at the bar and grab a drink together? Beyond meeting at Barcade at 7pm, there wasn’t an agenda to the evening. An agenda doesn’t need to be complicated. It should be just enough of an outline to allow the group to disperse and come back, back together, throughout the night.
I’m sure members already plugged into the ethos of Team Awesome found each other and enjoyed a great night of game playing and bonding. As a new member, I felt alone and disconnected. Both are feelings that demotivate me to want to attend another Team Awesome event, even though their upcoming events look awesome.