Practicing the Pac-Man Rule at WordCamp US

With more than 2,000 attendees expected, WordCamp US is one of the largest conferences devoted to WordPress. It’s a great opportunity to meet a lot of new faces and catch up with familiar ones. If you’re standing in the hallway at WordCamp US speaking with a group of people and want to encourage others to say hi or be part of the conversation, try this tip shared by Jason Cosper called the Pac-Man rule written by Eric Holscher.

Mini Pac Man Arcade Machine
photo credit: rbatina Random Phone Shots (license)

The rule is simple. When standing in a circle, provide an opening for someone to join the group. By standing in an open circle, it gives a passersby explicit permission to join the group and limits the appearance of cliques. I didn’t realize how standing in a closed circle can be off-putting to those wanting to introduce themselves or chime in until learning about this rule.

In addition to the Pac-Man rule, Bob Dunn suggests using eye contact to invite people to the group. Morten Rand-Hendriksen suggests that if you’re looking to start a conversation with someone new, start with groups of two people as they likely know each other and want to talk to new people. I’ll be practicing the Pac-Man rule this weekend and I encourage other attendees to do so as well.


  1. This is an awesome idea! I’ll make sure the groups I’m in are open to making others feel welcomed!

    See you in Nashville!


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