For a couple of hours on some Thursdays, I volunteer at the Advice Booth at Venture Cafe.
The Cafe is housed in the Cambridge Innovation Center at One Broadway, on the 4th floor. After registering when you arrive, you can meet a wide variety of like-minded people who are passionate about innovation, and may be working on a startup in its pursuit. While you get into a conversation and exchange great ideas, you can have a beer, wine, coffee, or the occasional food item–all without paying a fee.
When I’m at the Advice Booth, anyone can stop by and seek out coaching to thinking through a complex decision that needs to be made, pull apart a dilemma that weighs on the mind, or just to find out what the Advice Booth is all about.
I enjoy the fluid nature of the the booth. With my coaching clients, I already have a clear understanding of what they’re looking to accomplish when we embark on an engagement, and have an arsenal of assessments that they’re completed to refer to. With drop-ins at the Venture Cafe, they can hit me with any topic, we dive in deeply, and generally wrap up within 15-20 minutes. It’s fast, improvisational, stimulating, and surprisingly effective!
Those who sat down at the booth have wanted to work on topics ranging from funding strategy to hiring to marketing message to partner relationships to sales focus to job search to dating to child rearing. Nearly everyone who sat down walked away with greater clarity as to their next steps. The payoffs for me are many: I get to hang out with the other volunteers, who are all interesting and fun-loving; I keep my coaching skills sharp; drop-ins give me instant feedback; I get to meet new people while learning about what’s on their mind; and I am of help in a meaningful way in a very short time. And did I mention that the drinks are free?
See you at the Venture Cafe!