• Let’s talk about relationships!

    Willie Mae Kirk Branch, Austin Public Library

    So relationship. We're built for connection. It’s hardwired in our DNA. Then why the hell are they so complicated? Why are there so many books out on the topic? And why does it seem there’s no single book that can just give you all the answers? And what’s a work relationship compared to a personal relationship compared to friendship or romance? I’m about to pose something a little bit wild… Relationships are EASY …Once you know the rules… But what are the rules? This is where it gets even more interesting… Would you believe it if I told you the universe has been telling and showing us what to do all along? Would you believe it if a walk in the nature could give you more information about what relationships are and how they flow than any single book that’s out there right now? Maybe you would... albeit skeptically. Maybe you would flat out call me crazy. Well that’s what we’re going exploring this meet up… During this meet up, I’m going to share the relationship lifecycle. The underlying common pattern that all relationships follow. And we’re gonna take a hard look at when and why problems occur and how you can proactively create and foster relationship that are far more harmonious that what might be your current experience. We'll answer the question: why do so many books differ or offer different advice and none seem to give all the answers? We’re going to talk about the whole of relationship. We’re going to talk about how all relationships form, how they end, and what happens in between. Then we’re going to do a few activities for these different points within the relationship and give you specific tactics and strategies you can start using right now wherever you’re at whether you are trying to build friendships, improve a relationship in the office, or find the love of your life. This is going to help you solve that. The only thing that I request from you for showing up is you share with me one relationship book, movie, or training that has been significant in helping you understand relationships better. I look forward to seeing you there.

  • [Warning Weird] How to Short Circuit your Social Anxiety with Laughter and Play

    Howson Branch, Austin Public Library

    Alright! This is gonna get WEIRD... and if you're willing to embrace a bite-sized chunk of discomfort with some strangers in a safe place on a Tuesday night... I predict, you will have an experience that will set the stage for a greater comfort in your future social engagements (and public speeches) that will compound (as in get stronger) over time. "But Chris, what the hell are you talking about?" you might be asking right about now... And what I'm talking about is me revealing my "social state shortcut" Yep, it's so damn automatic that I take it for granted AND the easiest way to learn it??? Playing, laughing, and stepping into a new (more resourceful) emotional state... And we're gonna do it the fastest (and most fun) way I know how... Games of laughter to promote neuroplasticity rewiring, an indoor snowball fight and playing with legos in a collaborative way to promote divergent thinking (crucial for conversation) as well as some other creative games. Hope you all make it. I’m excited!!

  • Discover the DNA of Communication... the underlying thread of it all

    This is going to be a special event and I believe there is no better place than the Oak Grove picnic area to discuss and explore the topic... I’m about to say something bold and something that I have no idea if anyone else would be interested in… although statistically it's highly likely another soul on this planet would enjoy this topic... I’m geeking out right now because after years in which I was dumbfounded by communication and a shorter (but long-enough) time of seeking to solve the fastest way to help someone understand communication to utilize it every day of my life and in any context… After having the need for effective communication to show up in so many different contexts even with little to no prior experience of the exact scenario (real examples being: writing, rehearsing and delivering a eulogy… OR having a tough conversation about alternative treatments to chemotherapy)... I started to ask, “What the hell am I doing? How do I know this stuff is gonna work for that context? Or with this person? Or to this group of people?” And for a long time, my head has been in a graceful yet spiraling loop as I tried to figure this out… Then yesterday happened… I figured it out… At least I think I have… And this is going to sound bold… even bolder since I haven’t ever seen this written in a book, presented on a stage, shared in a video… or anywhere else... BUT I believe I’ve uncovered the single thread that absolutely must be present in every single communication strategy that exists for the communication to be effective… Whether an email, conversation, story, speech, essay, negotiation, sales call, wedding party toast, text message, design of a dating profile or any form of expression that involves sending the ideas that are in your head to another person (or to yourself for some incredible self-therapy)... There appears to be a common thread to how all communication should be structured to give you the greatest odds of your message being received and understood as you hoped it would be. I’m calling this, “The DNA of Communication” And this is a theory… while I don’t know if it can ever be “proved” anything more than a theory, I believe that those who understand this can then become incredibly effective communicators if they accept that this DNA should be at the heart and center of every speech they prepare for, conversation they have, and meeting they walk into. So what I’d like to share at this meetup is this DNA and we’ll start talking about how it would apply to different situations you have going on in your life. You will walk away from this Meetup knowing the DNA of Communication and will get to step into your upcoming talks with this framework to refer to so you can speak more confidently, have a better understanding of why things aren’t working, and know what to tweak when needed. This meetup is designed to present a new idea and I’ll do my best to come up with exercises related to it. Most likely these exercises will be around spotting the DNA in different situations… and--possibly even more importantly--rehearsing how to get things back on track when a conversation/talk/meeting seems to be going off course by checking what is out of alignment. This meetup will be in the lovely Oak Grove in Austin’s Botanical Garden in Zilker park. The meetup is free but you will have to pay $2-4 for entrance to the Garden which also covers the cost of parking. I look forward to seeing you all there and if weather becomes an issue for any reason, I’ll announce an alternate location near Zilker.

  • How to Speak so People "Get You"

    Twin Oaks Branch, Austin Public Library

    I'll be the first to say it... It hurts to be misunderstood It hurts even more if you really mean well or were just trying to explain your point of view and the person becomes defensive and it becomes a weird verbal sparring/debate rather than a healthy exchange of feelings, stories, opinions, and ideas. This meetup will focus on 2 parts of misunderstandings... 1) Handling your emotional state when these situations come up and a better way to think about things 2) How to ask questions and deliver your thoughts and opinions in a way that promotes a healthy conversation and exchange of ideas. There's the myth not to talk about politics, religion, or money. And I understand why this is a decent recommendation... when someone doesn't have the skill set to navigate these topics that typically have a lot of self-identity and emotions packed into them. Now, for the sake of the meetup, we won't be talking about highly sensitive adrenaline/cortisol spiking topics, but... We will practice skills to manage our reaction to the people in life who are less than open to alternate points of view. Here's what we'll cover through brief explanation and a handful of dynamic/engaging exercises... - Rapporting - playing with body language and our words to watch what enhances and takes away from our rapport with others - Replacing "but" with "and" -- why the word "but" programs people for defensiveness and what happens when we change the discussion - The "Yes ... and ..." method for greater agreement even on topics of apparent conflict -- this technique is used both in improv and by Tony Robbins when he's helping people change unhelpful limiting beliefs - The audit process from Chris Voss's "Never Split the Difference" -- this simple technique will change the way you approach tough conversations I am excited to meet you all there and expect it will be a great evening!

  • From Strangers to Friends (in 10 Minutes or Less)

    Old Quarry Branch, Austin Public Library

    Have you ever been at a meetup, networking event, function or even out "in the wild" (a.k.a. all of the world outside of our living place) and wanted to get to know someone better? We probably all have at one point or another. Some of us may have even written off this idea saying, "I'm not a people person. I'm better at [insert something you are incredibly talented at]" Now, it doesn't have to be that way... I spent 23 years confused at how the heck friendships--and relationships in general--happened. It took me about 7 years, lots of reading, and conversations with (conservatively) 20,000 strangers to figure out the fundamentals of friendship/relationship building and I believe we can learn the key components of it (And Practice it!) in about 2 hours. In this meetup we will go over: -A few simple games to get in a social state of mind and know more about each other -What's been going on with you and what you'd like more help with around communication (ideally it fits with the Meetup topic) -The "Friendship Formula" from "The Like Switch" by Jack Schaeffer -The first 5 minutes... from getting a conversation started to a comfortable back and forth... talking about things you find interesting -How to end the conversation and set up a 2nd meeting with someone on the spot and exchange contact information (if you want to) - (Time permitting) - How to spot someone interested in speaking with you from across the room without a word ever leaving your mouth (yep, not even kidding...) What we'll discuss and practice has led to a much more fulfilling life for me in work, family, friendship, and romance... and most importantly, I've seen similar results in the people I've helped with this so far.

  • Small talk to Real talk (FAST)

    Little Woodrows

    To be blunt, small talk sucks! But it doesn’t have to! I spent years thinking “why in the hell do people do this?? Can’t we just get real with each other?? Am I doing something wrong??” Then I found a way... Let’s make this first meet up about meeting people, sharing our intrigue about communication and what gets us going and excited and... Play a few simple games that will sharpen your own innate ability to connect with someone (even someone you might normally not connect with) quickly! Come in with curiosity and a spirit to be open to new ideas, and I think we’ll have a blast!