Listen to Their Stories

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

I just read that November 23rd is the National Day of Listening.  This intrigued me so I turned to the almighty Google to learn more.

It appears that the Friday after Thanksgiving has been declared a day to listen – actually LISTEN to the people who surround you and hear their stories. It’s a time to record and/or video interviews with your family or friends or even stories about your community.  What a fabulous idea!

You know, it sometimes seems like the people we love will be with us forever, and there’s always tomorrow to listen to their stories, but as you get older you realize that life doesn’t always work that way. 

One of my greatest listening memories was with my Mom and helping her sort through hundreds of photos that she stored in shoe boxes.  Yes, that’s right, shoe boxes!  You see, this was a time before cell phones or computers, so we actually printed our photographs.  My Mom had three shoe boxes overflowing with photos.  Neither my brothers nor I had any idea who the people were smiling back at us in these photographs.  So, for several afternoons in a row, I sat with my Mom as, one by one, I held up a photo and said: “Mom, can you tell me who this is?”

Now, by this time, my Mom had developed dementia and couldn’t remember what she had for lunch, but she could remember with great detail what happened fifty years ago.  And so I listened to her stories.  I never thought of recording them, and to this day, that is one of my greatest regrets.  One thing I do have, though, are those wonderful memories, sitting on her patio with the warmth of the sun shining down on us, hearing the stories of her best friend, Ann, and the fights she had with her sister, and how she met my father.  Those moments we shared together are priceless and those memories will stay with me forever.

So now we come to today and this age of technology.  All we have to do is pull out our cell phone and hit the record button.  Young and old, we all have stories.  Here’s to capturing some of them.  I can’t go back and record my Mom’s voice, but I sure can start today and gather a lifetime of memories with the people who still surround me.

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Development Professional Speaker
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Tips Tricks & Techniques to Make Networking Fun

Professional Speaker-Personal Development-Positive Attitude

Since we’re on a roll here, let’s continue this series on networking.

I’ve heard from so many people that they really dislike face-to-face networking.  It makes them feel intimidated and uncomfortable and they just don’t want to do it.  This made me wonder:  how can we turn the tables, flip the switch, and think differently about networking. 

I came up with five simple steps to make a game out of it – to actually make it fun.  So here are some tips, tricks and techniques to try.  Now remember, the key word here is “try.”  Pick and choose the techniques that are right for you and your personality.  I’m going to challenge you, though, to step out of your comfort zone – that is the only way you will grow.

So here we go…

1.       Get to the networking event early.  This may sound really simple, but many people show up in time for the speaker, then leave immediately after.  That is NOT networking.  By getting to the event early, you will feel less intimidated because there are fewer people there.   Then you can really focus on who you want to meet and start a conversation with.

2.       Don’t tell yourself “no”.  Many times my inner voice starts screaming: “no one wants to meet you, you have nothing of value to offer, no one will listen to you…” If this ever happens to you, STOP and hit the delete button!!!  There are enough people out there already telling you “no” so don’t become one of them.  Instead choose your three greatest attributes and repeat them to yourself over and over again.

3.       If it feels comfortable to you, wear something that stands out.  I often wear my red boots because people will compliment me on my boots.  It’s a great conversation starter.  Anyone can wear something that’s a little different – maybe a different colored shirt or tie or blouse.  It will make you stand out from the crowd.  Try it and see if it works for you.

4.       Smile.  It’s a powerful show of confidence which people respect and are drawn to.  Smiles are contagious and the simple act of smiling makes people feel better.  No matter who you’re approaching,  there is no stronger opener.

5.       Remember the #1 rule – LISTEN.  Meeting people is about making their lives better.  Whether you give them a smile, a new job or anything in between, there is a way to help everyone.  Listen and learn about what matters to them.  People want to tell their stories.  Be the person who is excited to hear them.

I encourage you to try all five techniques.  After all, how do you know which ones will work best if you don’t test them?  Let me know if you have a favorite. 

Now go out there an have some fun networking!

Categories: Personal Development Positive Attitude Professional Development Professional Speaker
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