What we're about

How do you get someone to like you, to want to hang out with you, go on a date with you, or give you that hand up in your career? Yes, the concrete things you say and do are important. But did you know there is a sort of invisible room for the exchange of information, a Social Matrix, that runs on top of the factual content of every interaction?

Can't see it? Well, the Social Matrix is complex, subtle, and fuzzy-logical, but it is so important! The data in that "room” are the most important determiners of whether you get that invite, that job, that girl or that guy. Think you can't do it? Relax! The Social Matrix CAN be broken down into specific components and corresponding skills. Like Neo in the movie The Matrix, you can learn to read and write the Social Matrix. You CAN make those connections with people. But you gotta move your feet and come Meetup!

This Meetup is for you if you are a bright, mostly together professional. You have a lot to offer in a quirky or nerdy way, but you don't know how to integrate those things that make you a unique, interesting, really great partner or worker, with the normal social add-ons people expect. Due to lack of the right genes or the right jeans (and maybe waaay too much time on your computer!), you have difficulty socializing and connecting to other people. But you really want to!

This will be a 6-week boot camp-style Meetup, co-hosted by two licensed and certified Speech-Language Pathologists specializing in social skill development. Each 90-minute session will begin with a period of open discussion followed by a structured activity demonstrating a specific aspect of the Social Matrix. After the activity, we will practice the featured social skill with other boot campers (yes, that's right, practice makes perfect!). We will close each session with a low-stress home assignment, which we will be our topic for discussion the next time we meet.

Sessions will build on each other, but can be attended individually. The goal for each session is to develop an awareness and a specific skill you can use right away to improve your social interactions, and to do this in a fun and safe environment with other, like-minded individuals.

Mark your calendar because Social Skills Boot Camp Meetup will meet Thursday nights from 6-7:30 March 3rd through April 7th. There is a $30 per session non-refundable fee. Attendance may be limited so the practice-and-learn format can be preserved. Previous attendees will be given first priority for the next session.

Course Itinerary: In general, Weeks 1 and 2 will focus on how to meet people and get to know them. Weeks 3,4,and 5 will focus on specific component social skills, and week 6 will tie things together.

During Week 1, "Reading the Social Matrix,” we will give an overview of the 4 C's of the Social Matrix, Context, Cues, Construct, and Choice. We will also discuss divergent thinking and the use of a "construct fish tank" to improve your social reading skills.

In Week 2, "Writing the Social Matrix," we will explore how to convey the right social information for a specific purpose. It's not enough just to say or do concrete things. As social beings, we need to send a fairly constant stream of data into the Social Matrix, showing that we are listening on many levels, that we are interested, aware, confident, open, that we agree or respectfully don't agree. All while we are saying or doing the aforementioned "things." Yikes. We'll start out slowly!

Week 3 will focus on, well, for lack of a better way to put it, How to Get People to Like You.

Week 4 gets right down to How to Flirt/Network. Both involve what is essentially an "I like you" message, so it's not so strange that many elements of flirting are applicable to networking in the workplace.

Week 5 explores How to Hold a Really Good Conversation... End of conversation? Not!

Week 6, "A Relationship is Like a Dance," finishes out the boot camp with how to put the components together for a sustained, fulfilling connection. Whether it’s friendship, dating, love, or a work-related relationship, we will integrate recently acquired skills with concepts of mental flexibility, staying in the moment, perspective-based reality, and the much undervalued practice of fake-it-til-you-make-it.

If you are interested in social skill development but not ready or available to Meetup this time around, you are welcome to join our group anyway and participate in the general conversation about social challenges and goals, what works and what doesn't. Your experience is valuable to others, so join us!

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