If you want to meet interesting people, you need to go to interesting places. Note that the word is "interesting", not exotic, or expensive or exclusive. Places you haven't been yet. Places where people invest their time. Places where diverse members of the community come together.
Ribbon cuttings and open houses are a good example. Normally, businesses don't open their doors and invite the public to walk in and make themselves comfortable. Grand openings tend to put people in a mood that is similar to the holidays. They are more comfortable, relaxed, and open to meeting new people.
If you can squeeze out the extra effort during the rest of the year and find one open house, grand opening, or ribbon cutting a week, I guarantee you'll meet interesting people.
For example, tonight I went to the Open House for HandsOn Central California and conducted a ribbon cutting for them (visit the Clovis Chamber blog for a picture tomorrow). I met several of their staff, board members, and even some old friends.
Then I saw Jackie Ryle. She had with her copies of her brand new book, "All I Want is a Little Peace," to sell in the Art by Hand store at HandsOn. Congratulations Jackie!! I was her third-ever book buyer. How wonderful for me to be able to share just a little bit of her excitement.
We started a conversation with her fourth book buyer. He turned out to be Lee Ayres, who is on Ashley Swearengin's transition team. How interesting and fortunate for me to be able to run into him in such a casual and fun environment. I learned a little about civics and a lot more about the future of hiking trails in the valley.
All this from going to a non-profit, volunteer organization's Open House!
Now if I hadn't have dragged my buns out of the office, downtown, to that event, I wouldn't have had such an interesting time. Sure, I "had" to go because it's my job, but imagine if you built into your life a "no backing out" strategy. But that's a post for another day...