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  • Writer's pictureNiki Ernst

What is your social Agenda? Do you have one?

Let me share my lesson about Social Intelligence with you.

One of the things, life in Silicon Valley taught me, is to embrace Serendipity. It basically means that you remove *expectation* from the equation of your life: it is ok to sign up for a conference if you trust the curator of knowing his job, but actually don’t know, who will be speaking at this conference. It is ok to go to a party at a friends place without knowing who else is coming because you trust that your friend knows cool people, anyways. It is ok to go into a meeting without agenda, without pre-check on linked-in to know all about to person you are about to meet.

It is a great concept for life. I thought. Until last week.

Last week, I attended a Meetup (which actually turned out to be a talk) from Jaunty “Enhance Your Social Intelligence”.

Actually, I really wanted to go somewhere that night, and browsing through all the announced events on, this one sounded the least uninteresting. Pardon my arrogant approach.

The meetup was hosted by Jaunty’s Founder, Eric Waisman, and the first thought, he dropped into the room, was actually the opposite of serendipity: “have a plan, what you want to do socially, never go anywhere without a social agenda.”

In his TED talk, Ray Dalio shared that he knew he has reached a point where he needs to question his strong opinions to avoid ending up being an arrogant prat. He surrounded himself by smart people with different opinions to not only discuss theirs but actually flex his. I know, I can be such a person: even though I love the idea of letting go of “truth” (learn, unlearn, relearn) to grow, I also know that I have established a set of thoughts and approaches, that make a lot of sense to me, you might call me, having strong opinions, here and there, as well. Eric Waisman challenged me, that evening. And I cannot thank him enough for this, I opened up to a lot of new concepts, that night.

Back to the social agenda. A social agenda does not mean that you expect to be introduced to someone, or be invited somewhere, or any other form of delivery to your favor. It means that you know for yourself, what you want to accomplish or take out of the particular event. A simple social agenda might be: go home with 5 business cards and follow up with these people within 24hrs. A maybe more complex social agenda could be: challenge your opinion about the future of mobility, find someone to talk about that topic and listen more than you speak. Have a plan and be active towards it.

For creative people, the worst, a client could ask them to do is: “no boundaries, you can do, whatever you want to do”. In my former life as an adman, we always developed the most creative, entertaining, fun and relevant output, when our space of movement was highly restricted and clearly defined. This different way of looking at events reminded me to that time: serendipity means: whatever happens, happens. Social Agenda means: I want to make something out of this event.

The definition of Social Intelligence is the ability to connect with others, to understand your social environment and get others to get along with you.

We all agree that we are more connected than we have ever been, but in reality, we are completely disconnected: we get an entire version of the other, but at the same time we know, that we actually know very little about each other. We build versions of ourselves that attract people that gravitate towards this version of ourselves and the question is: are we attracting the right people? Do we feel safe in the environment we have grown around us?

Along with a lot more to fill evenings with, and I might come back to them in my future “diary notes” to you.

Eric left us with an interesting thought — a good question to close this text-, an even better question to begin this week with: Was today a good snapshot of you?

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