On Crashing Weddings and Online Conversations

By: Guest | October 1, 2012 | 

Today’s guest post is by Geoff Reiner

I crashed my first wedding in my late teens.

I was with my older cousin who was rather intoxicated.

A few minutes after our grand entrance, we were kindly asked to leave.

I crashed my second wedding a few years later.

This time, I went alone.

Let me rephrase – when I say I crashed weddings, I actually just ventured to other weddings within the same venue that seemed far more entertaining.

And fortunately I was able to retire before the whole activity got a bad rep.

Regardless, at my second and much more successful crashing experience, I started off as a fly on the wall. I was extremely patient and strategically listened to various conversations. Once I found the most appropriate opportunity to participate and provide value, I went for it.

I know, I know. Why the heck am I talking about crashing weddings? Well, crashing weddings is exactly like crashing conversations online. Bear with me.

Successful Wedding Crashing

To crash a wedding successfully, and by successfully I mean not being asked to leave in the first 15 minutes, you have to be patient. You have to understand your audience and strategically monitor multiple conversations. Identifying opportunities to contribute, and moving quickly and with confidence is also critical for success.

Each new wedding provides a blank canvas. You’re a brand new face without followers or clout (yes real clout!). You only have one chance for first impressions and you have to go with your gut. Contrary to wedding crashing, crashing conversations online can be much less stressful and far more productive. As long as you have had thorough training and conducted the appropriate research. Research that only a seasoned wedding crasher can provide.

The Five Rules of Conversation Crashing

Rule #1: Never crash a conversation and be left behind. Social media monitoring helps you better understand relevant conversations and provides insight about your audience. The specific tool doesn’t necessarily matter as long as you listen before you crash.

Rule #2: Use your real name. Successfully crashing conversations involves authenticity and vulnerability. If you let people know your intentions and crash with finesse, people are generally quite receptive.

Tip: When using your real name, also use a picture of yourself. It’s very important that people can connect with you visually. And remember the picture has to be professional. No lower back tattoos!

Rule #3: Blend in by standing out. Agreeing with everyone is lame and makes you completely forgettable. I’m certainly not suggesting you pull a Kenneth Cole and start hijacking hash tags. However, if you see a post from Gini Dietrich about The 10 Commandments of Online Etiquette, feel free to be tactfully disruptive. Spam can be a great topic of conversation, especially among vegetarians.

Rule #4: Build trust. Building trust can take forever and it can be broken with the simple click of a mouse. If you’re interested in crashing a specific conversation or meeting a specific person, ease your way in to the crash. Start by commenting on blogs, retweeting relevant content you’re passionate about, and building trust organically. Then once you have a rapport and there’s an interesting conversation brewing, crash that conversation with confidence and tact. But remember, never ever ever go for the close (Jim Connolly). If people trust you, they will buy.

Rule #5: Manage Relationships. People who successfully crash conversations have a purpose. They know who they are, why they’re crashing, how they want to strategically crash, and what they want out of the crash. They have determined their purpose and desired outcome. Successfully crashing conversations is a complete waste when relationships are not maintained. My solution, crash conversations consistently and become a regular!

Tip: When looking to crash conversations and be disruptive, it’s not about blasting people and telling them how wrong they are. However, if you disagree with someone first ask permission to offer an opposing perspective and then deliver an opinion or contrary subject matter that allows them to see a different point of view. This promotes engagement and allows for a much richer dialogue which ultimately builds trust.

So next time you’re at a wedding and the party is wicked, take a look around the room, and don’t be surprised if you see… this guy!

Geoff works with Jump-Point, Canada’s leading boutique strategic management consultancy. His focus is on growing the Clarity for the Boss community, the Jump-Point first online business education program for serious entrepreneurs. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, or the Clarity for the Boss blog.

  • Old_Jrice

    @ginidietrich @geoffreiner Do u 2 mean , besides me, other people try 2 converse on twitter?

    • geoffreiner

      @Old_Jrice @ginidietrich It’s true Jeff! The world is finally coming around! Can you believe it?

  • Old_Jrice

    @ginidietrich I think ALL my followers r intimidated by me n think I’m the only 1 of all the men they tweet 2, want n on line relationship.

    • abbypriefert428

      @Old_Jrice hi you should see @YaEntertain @BryBeats @AndrewHarris33 @SherazAli they followback #TFB! 🙂

    • ginidietrich

      @Old_Jrice Ha! Maybe so…

      • Old_Jrice

        @ginidietrich Hi Gini! I paid a dollar 4 amazing big tweeted expressions 2day!

        • ginidietrich

          @Old_Jrice A whole dollar?! Was it well spent?

        • Old_Jrice

          @ginidietrich Immensely satisfying!

  • TroyClaus

    Great job Geoff!
    I would also add that blasting people over and over with a cheesy sales pitch is a no no, it’s like wearing to much cologne to a wedding, everyone will avoid you and talk about how much you stink 🙂

    •  @TroyClaus my friend, it sounds as though you are speaking from experience? Do you have a crashing experience to share with the community?

      • TroyClaus

         @GeoffReiner Sure am!! I went to a wedding and the guy sitting beside me had so much cologne on I could taste it in my meal. It was at that point that I realized my choices were 1.) enjoy the sweet taste of Malizia Umo, or  2.) go eat at the back of the room alone. Yes, I chose the back of the room 🙂

        •  @TroyClaus  @GeoffReiner At least it wasn’t Axe? 😉

        •  @Erin F.  @TroyClaus That’s never a good thing… 

  • nadia_yen

    @geoffreiner AWESOME!!!!!!!

  • ifdyperez

    This was a fun read! Totally sharing it…

    •  @ifdyperez Thanks Ifdy! Have you ever crashed a wedding / conversation?

      • ifdyperez

         @GeoffReiner Conversations, oh totally. I used to work at a nonprofit, and that’s the first thing we did to find our community. Twitter’s the bomb-diggity for that. As for weddings, no. But I am totally buying a beer for any crasher at my wedding next year. 🙂

        •  @ifdyperez Twitter is a great way to find your community, especially in the nonprofit world! And I’m really glad you said bomb-diggity 🙂  ThAT”S AWESOME! 
          My email address is  I just need location and date. And I will be sure to crash after dinner so you don’t have to worry about adding a plate and I am happy to travel. I especially love destination weddings.
          This would be super cool if you actually sent me location and date, and I actually crashed. Cause that’s so something I would do.. 

        • ifdyperez

           @GeoffReiner Bomb-diggity is totally underused.
          If I only knew where our wedding would be (still planning) but I am happy I have a potential-crasher! I mean, what’s a wedding without a crasher. That’s a boring wedding, I tell you!

        •  @ifdyperez  @GeoffReiner Wait, is it still crashing if you get sent the details? 😉 

        •  @jasonkonopinski  @ifdyperez Great point Jason… Let me do my research. Also, Ifdy consider bomb-diggity temporarily borrowed! (and I will follow up with you around city… I can find the rest!)

        • ifdyperez

           @GeoffReiner  @jasonkonopinski Well, it is kinda “illegitimate” if I’m tipping off my wedding crasher. But no one needs to know. 😉

        •  @ifdyperez  @jasonkonopinski I like that 😉

        •  @ifdyperez  @jasonkonopinski (…Jason, you can crash too)

        •  @GeoffReiner  @ifdyperez  @jasonkonopinski May I be a part of the wedding crasher train?

        •  @Erin F.  @ifdyperez  @jasonkonopinski I will forward the invite (or just post it all over twitter lol)

        • ifdyperez

           @GeoffReiner  @Erin F.   @jasonkonopinski LOL!

    •  @ifdyperez Ifdy! It’s been too long since we last visited. I suppose you have an excuse since you’re planning a wedding. 😀

      • ifdyperez

         @Erin F. I know, I’m so bad! I have to stop by your blog again soon. It’s been cah-razy. 🙂 Been well?

        •  @ifdyperez Well enough, I suppose. 🙂
          My blog isn’t going anywhere soon, at least not if I have anything to say about it, so you’ll have to make an appearance whenever time allows. 

  • nadia_yen

    @geoffreiner AWESOME!!!!

  • Hey, it’s a guest post by one of my tribe members!
    When I first started to crash conversations, I out-and-out said I was doing so and apologized beforehand. I think I’ve gotten more finessed or bold or something in the past year. I don’t apologize as much anymore. 🙂

    •  @Erin F. I would agree that you have likely developed your ability to leverage finesse but you are also becoming more confident and seeing direct results with your network as a result of your crashing! 
      I joined a conversation the other day but wasn’t all there. I made a few comments over a pretty long period of time and one guy called me out BIGTIME. I felt like a bit of a lurker… Not good. 
      The next time I crashed, I introduced myself and went right for it! 

      •  @Erin F. So Erin, based on your experience what advice do you have for up and coming crashers?

        •  @GeoffReiner I think people have to find their own comfort level with it, which takes time. I tend to compare my social networking with my experiences with selling shoes. I had to find my comfort level with that, too. It was no easy feat for a quiet introvert, although I’m not very quiet anymore. 🙂 Still introverted, but not quiet.
          They also need to start asking questions. It can’t hurt to ask, right? More often than not, being brave enough to ask the question results in a positive rather than a negative experience. @ginidietrich , for instance, helped me to start my e-letter, and it was because I was brave enough to ask her for help.

        •  @Erin F.  @ginidietrich  Hey Erin,
          At Clarity for the Boss, we have a concept called performance bands. Essentially your performance band is your capacity to achieve desired results. When you remain in your comfort zone, it’s very difficult to achieve results and grow your performance band.  
          And I would agree that people do have to define their comfort zone. With that, the greatest learning happens when we push our boundaries into the discomfort. You would have been extremely uncomfortable in your experience selling shoes to become who you are.
          And I appreciate you defining yourself as an introvert that is not quiet. Sounds like you have enhanced your performance band and developed some pretty strategic filters!  That’s awesome!
          Last point: being brave enough to ask for help is great! It’s a step in the right direction. And it helps you become okay with the answer no. And if you’re surrounding yourself with like-minded people (Gini) that have a big capacity to perform, you will continue to grow too! Congrats on your success and awesome feedback 🙂

        •  @GeoffReiner  @ginidietrich Maybe comfort zone was the wrong choice of words. I think what I meant is that you have to find your own way. Listening to other people’s advice is all well and good, but you don’t know anything until you give it a try yourself. 🙂
          I’m constantly testing my limits and what I think I can do. I won’t let my introverted tendencies keep me from what I’m supposed to do.

        •  @Erin F.  @ginidietrich 
          I had an idea of what you were getting at. And yes, finding your way and creating your own path is so critical. You’re right – taking the advice of others can only get us so far..
          I certainly see you pushing yourself, especially with your most recent post. This does not look like it comes from someone that’s introverted. I like that you stand for something and aren’t afraid to voice your opinion. Great post by the way! 

        •  @GeoffReiner  @ginidietrich Thank you!
          I attended a webinar from Copyblogger the other day. Brian Clark talked about the three “C’s” of content: cornerstone content, connection content, and customer content. He made the point that customer content included ideas that people must accept in order to work with a person. I suppose my latest post falls into that category. I plan to write some posts about the webinar. It contained good information. I just have other posts in the queue.

        •  @Erin F.  @ginidietrich That’s great information! And yes, I would agree. I think your latest post may also be considered tactfully disruptive to some. I look forward to reading more of your work!

        •  @GeoffReiner  @ginidietrich I’m occasionally opinionated. 

  • geoffreiner

    @factor_e thanks for the mention! You guys are wicked! @RPMoran

  • Hey Geoff … nice take on injecting yourself into a new community. No, I’ve never crashed a wedding that I can remember. But, i did, however, notice a crasher at my son’s wedding last month! Hmmm, was it you?
    As to conversation crashers, wouldn’t you say it’s only crashing if you’re there to get something out of it rather than honestly contributing to it? Or, at least honestly stating what you’re learning from it? I suppose it’s all about tact and genuineness. After all, a conversation held in public (twitter, here, etc.) isn’t really a closed door event!
    Also liked your oxymoronic “blend by standing out” tip. 🙂

    •  @Carmelo 
      Hey Carmelo, thanks for the feedback! And I did venture to a number of weddings last month but I’m sure I knew either the bride or the groom. If you see me next time, I owe you a beverage 🙂
      You raise a valid question. Some people crash to get something out of the conversation but some crash to gain brand equity and grow their network. And honestly stating what you learn from crashing may not be apparent on a short term basis – especially if you’re new.
      I am consistently crashing conversations to gain insight but also to provide good content and grow my network. And yes you’re right, any conversation online does seem to be public – that’s how communities form and organically grow!
      Blending in by standing out is so crucial at weddings – it seems like everyone is there to be crazy! This metaphor also seems to be quite appropriate based on the number of bloggers/influencers/gurus looking to be disruptive in the online space as well.
      Thanks again 🙂

      •  @GeoffReiner I’m keeping a look out for you! Not just for the beverage but for your perspectives. (But I will expect the refreshment, yes.) 🙂

        •  @Carmelo  This is awesome!  We shall be in touch and thank you for your perspectives as well. It’s greatly appreciated. And consider the refreshment a done deal 🙂

  • rustyspeidel

    I crashed one of Gini’s on Facebook once. I looked like an idiot!!

  • rustyspeidel

    I crashed one of Gini’s on Facebook once. I looked like an idiot!!

    •  @rustyspeidel I would be lying if I said I’ve never been there!  Happens to the best of us… 🙂

  • Old_Jrice

    @ginidietrich @geoffreiner By politely asking if a different viewpoint could b offered( n my case) seems 2b boundlessly trivializing.

    • geoffreiner

      @Old_Jrice @ginidietrich Jeff you have me intrigued. Can you give me an example to help me better understand your perspective?

  • ginidietrich

    @DenVan He really did. And it says even more that I left it in there @geoffreiner

    • geoffreiner

      @ginidietrich @DenVan Gini I was surprised when you said you liked my post… I wasn’t sure if that line would make the cut :p

      • DenVan

        @geoffreiner @ginidietrich Ha! Hooboy, now I’m backing away from the conversation-crash… #SeeWhatIDidThere?

        • geoffreiner

          @DenVan @ginidietrich Dennis don’t do it! This is where all the fun happens! 🙂 lol

        • ginidietrich

          @DenVan Trouble maker

  • I laughed out loud at the spam comment. I don’t know if anyone else will get that, but I thought it was hilarious!
    Remind me never to hand out with you. I’m notorious for crashing parties (ask martinwaxman and kensviews about crashing prom) so I’m afraid we’d get in a lot of trouble together.

    •  @ginidietrich  martinwaxman  kensviews 
      I’m glad you appreciated it. @TroyClaus was howling too! Right before I pressed send, Troy says, “Dude, you know she’s a vegetarian right?”  LOL 
      Crashing parties is what I do best so hanging out may be a good idea.  And now you have given me a thread to go and bother Martin and Ken… Thanks a million 🙂

      •  @GeoffReiner  @ginidietrich  martinwaxman  @TroyClaus My enemy’s enemy is my friend!

        •  @KensViews  @ginidietrich  martinwaxman  @TroyClaus  LOL I’ve never heard that one before, but I like it!

    •  @ginidietrich  martinwaxman  kensviews lol … i did NOT get the spam reference! Had to read it twice and it didn’t help!

      •  @Carmelo  @ginidietrich  martinwaxman  kensviews 
        Yes, that was me trying to be clever.
        Gini wrote a post about online etiquette mentioning how no one likes spam emails. I thought I was being tactfully disruptive asking a vegetarian if she liked spam (shortened from spiced ham) playing off the pun of online spam.
        It really wasn’t that “tactfully disruptive”  lol 🙂

  • geoffreiner

    @engagetony @ginidietrich thanks Tony! So what have you found to be productive from your success (crashing) stories?

    • engagetony

      @geoffreiner @ginidietrich I’ve found listening in to Gini & @spinsucks very productive! 🙂

      • geoffreiner

        @engagetony @ginidietrich @spinsucks Agreed! Many guest bloggers have provided great content and Gini and her team are very #engaging!

  • Short story on Steve Jobs (since several are saying what a people person he wasn’t)
    Back in 1983 when living at Lake Tahoe and just starting out as a commissioned stock broker my wife took a few jobs as a baby-sitter.  She baby-sat for Woz’s and Steve’s kids a few times when they came up to Tahoe for a weekend.
    She liked Woz okay but when I asked if Steve was nice she just sort of shrugged and matter-of-factly said “no.” I think he did learn a few things along the way. But, he WAS pretty much Steve Jobs to the end.

  • geoffreiner

    @razoo @SpinSucks Thanks for the mention!

  • Can you please next time write about crashing debutante balls? (Do they have those in Canada?) 
    I’m totally with you on the contrary viewpoint. But then, I’m a Republican. There, I said it. I had to come out sooner or later, and my family is OK with it. 

    •  @barrettrossie  To be honest, I had to google it. And as I sit here trying to control my laughter (thinking that stuff only existed in the movies) curiosity strikes me. It turns out the Hungarian Helicon Society is one of the only debutante balls in Canada. Who knew! Looks like I really do learn something every day!
      And not to worry Barrett, I’m with your family on that one… I won’t hold it against you. After all, I am from north of the border 🙂

  • rdopping

    A real life Vince Vaughan, eh? Great analogy and great tips, sir. I’ve been known to carpet bomb conversations before. Sometimes it works other times no. That’s what experimenting is all about though.
    It all comes down to time for me. #4 & #5 are only really achievable if I can manage my time well and ensure I am not just doing a drive by. Finesse seems to be the name of the game. I still have a lot to learn there. Ha.

    •  @rdopping 
      “Carpet bombing conversations?”  “Doing a drive by?”  Sounds like a few great follow up blog titles to me!  And it finally looks like I have found my Owen Wilson LOL. I have a few upcoming opportunities to crash. I will keep you in the loop. 
      Seriously though, building trust and managing relationships can take a pretty intense time investment. I’m with you, the learning never ends! 

  • geoffreiner

    @RebeccaLPage Hey Rebecca! Thanks for the mention. How’s your day going?

    • RebeccaLPage

      @geoffreiner I related as a reformed party crasher (20 years ago!) It started on the Hill. Oops, did I confess for all to see?!

      • geoffreiner

        @RebeccaLPage lol that’s awesome! And thanks for the mention 🙂

  • crestodina

    Loved this one. Thanks @GeoffReiner I heard a speaker recently (wish I could remember who it was) who said that it’s fine to jump into conversations and even ok to try to steer it in a certain direction, IF YOU STICK WITH IT.
    If you stay involved and in the conversation, that’s legit. If you jump into someone’s blog comments (or chat, hangout, hashtag, etc) with some selfish assertion and then leave …that’s spam.

    •  @crestodina 
      Hey Andy,
      Thanks for the feedback. To be honest, I think the same goes for weddings. Some people choose to crash weddings and completely ruin the party. They are obnoxious, rude and over the top.  
      If one crashes with authenticity and finesse, the outcome can be much more positive! 
      Now, I may be taking you back but do you remember your days of crashing conversations online???

      • crestodina

         @GeoffReiner I was pretty inelegant in the way I joined conversations in the beginning. “Hi there! I see you’re talking about X. Here’s an article I wrote about X. If you like it, check out my blog and subscribe and let’s meet for coffee.”  <– not a great first impression. A bit too intense…

        •  @crestodina  @GeoffReiner Andy, that totally made me laugh out loud!

        •  @ginidietrich  @crestodina   
          Andy, it certainly looks like you have perfected your skills and come a LONG WAY LOL  (totally kidding)
          Great information though. And it’s always beneficial to learn from the experiences of others.  Thanks again!

        •  @ginidietrich  @crestodina 
          Andy, it certainly looks like you have perfected your skills and come a LONG way (totally kidding)
          Great information here. And it’s always beneficial to learn from the experiences of others.  Thanks again and yes Gini I laughed out loud as well. His story sounds all too familiar… :p

  • geoffreiner

    @crestodina @SpinSucks @orbiteers Thanks so much Andy! And I look forward to guest posting in the near future 🙂

  • geoffreiner

    @MarketngTidbits @ginidietrich thanks so much for the mention Danette! How’s the day treating you?

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  • lizscherer

    @allenmireles Kindest heart ever = you

    • allenmireles

      @lizscherer Thank you, my friend. feel the same about you.

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