Tag Archives: connections

Let’s talk

I am having a conversation about talking to people. As you have probably read here, and may have even guessed, I love to talk to people. I connect well, face-to-face. It was hard during the pandemic to lose that ability and only communicate through technology.

A member of a committee, of which I just recently became chairperson, likes the idea of sending letters with requests rather than talking with the person. It’s even suggested to send a self-addressed, stamped envelope so they can just check a box and send their answer back by return mail. I wanted to scream when I heard this. Now, if the person is hard to contact in person, I have nothing against calling them and chatting, even leaving a voice mail. I did a lot of that during the COVID pandemic. And, I am not against sending mail as I just sent three cards yesterday to people who I did not see at church on Sunday, letting them know they were missed.

But…talking face to face is just so much more meaningful to me. I can see facial expressions. I can get an idea while talking and immediately convey it. The person with whom I’m talking can give me opinions and perhaps even send me in a different direction. This happened last Sunday when a member and I were discussing use of her brother’s memorial fund. I shared some information with her that gave her a completely different insight on something she had pondered. We both came away from the conversation feeling warm and fuzzy. A letter does not do that.

Now, I like technology. If you’ve been here for very long, you know how much I love social media and blogging to convey my thoughts and interests. I like to text people when I have a quick question and need a quick answer. Or, even no answer at all, just a way to let them know what’s going on. I am so glad we have the technology to communicate quickly and easily. But, nothing will ever take the place of communicating face to face with another human being.

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My worlds collide

Or, another way to put it, it’s a small world…

Friday turned out to be one of those days that was over-scheduled. In my retirement life, that rarely happens, but when opportunities come, I like to take advantage. I had a lunch date with an old friend, a parent of a former student. This woman helped me so much when I was doing the yearbook for that large, inner-city high school. Because she loves to take pictures, she did a lot of sports and other event photos and I always rewarded her with each year’s yearbook. We laugh at the same things and have high expectations of everyone and everything.

She took a half day off on Friday and met me downtown for lunch at a place I just knew she would love. It’s an old 1880s newspaper printing office that was turned into a men’s club for many decades in the mid 1900s. Now it’s reopened as an upscale restaurant and event venue. The architecture is amazing and the newspaper’s printing press still sits in the main dining room. The bar from the men’s club days is still in place. Great place to wile away a couple of hours over lunch.

I would have loved to continued our time together, walking around downtown and checking on renovations, but I had to get home to finish up some chores because I had a second event in the late afternoon–a retirement party for two of the teachers in whose classrooms I read stories as school chaplain. Both are amazing teachers and both had moved on to other schools for this past year. I had missed them and was immensely pleased to be invited to their joint party hosted by another Columbia first grade teacher.

The party was on the other side of town, a 30 minute drive from my home during the best of times, but during commuter traffic, even longer. Because I’m not good with late-day events, I wanted to arrive just as the party was starting, hug the ladies, say my congratulations, and head back across town. I only took a couple of pictures which is unusual for me, but time was fleeting.

I posted the pictures of one of the teachers to my Facebook page and immediately got a response from the friend with whom I had lunch earlier that day. The retiring teacher is her cousin! None of us knew how we were connected until I posted that photo. I’ve known Delores for 18 years, Patty for 4, and just learned how our worlds overlapped, all because of a Facebook post. That’s the value of social media.

Who do you know?

My new bloggy find, suzanne yada, has a great piece, meant for journalism students, but useful for everyone, about  making connections.  Ms Yada stresses the networking angle because journalists need information and they need places to publish their work.   I stress this with my students all of the time, and attempt to show them how I do this, so they will be able to find jobs.  It’s often WHO you know more so than WHAT you know.  You gotta have the skills, though, too.  Another mantra of mine.  People won’t be interested in you unless you can do something for them.

In the next week or so the seniors will start to work on 30-second pitches for their business plans.  Ms Yada recommends an elevator-pitch site to help with this.  I am excited to try this with my students.  They often stumble and mumble when they have to describe themselves and their business.  I’m always telling them that they need to be ready, any time, to pitch their services or company to a prospective employer or investor. You never know when you will meet that right connection.