Software for Good Logo
Insights / February 28, 2017

Practice Radical Hospitality

By Casey Helbling

Technology moves fast. As technologists, we constantly push ourselves beyond our comfort zones to stay up on the latest tech thing. It’s not an easy task, but we are happy to do it because we know the extra effort will make us, and our work, better.

As humans, however, we often find ourselves reluctant to move beyond our comfort zones and converse with other humans. Why is this? When we attend meetups, conferences, and other industry events, why do we insist on engaging only with our usual cliques? We are missing a huge opportunity—for learning, for knowledge, for connection, for growth, for inclusion. And, worst of all, we give those outside our immediate circles the (false) impression that the tech community isn’t for everyone.

This week, I encourage you to practice radical hospitality.

Go above and beyond in your efforts to be welcoming. Get outside your comfort zone by asking somebody you don’t know what brings them to an event. Introduce somebody you don’t know to a group of people you do know. Smile and say hello.

However, it’s important to remember that sometimes people don’t want to be interrupted. Take care to read the body language and gauge the response of person you’re approaching, and introduce yourself in a manner that allows them to decline conversation. If they do decline, quickly and graciously step away from the interaction. You are not practicing radical hospitality if the person with whom you’re interacting does not want to interact with you.

Saying “everyone is welcome” and making everyone feel welcome are two very different things. This week, let your actions do the talking, and practice radical hospitality.