I’m a sucker for a pun, so I couldn’t resist sharing these photos and lightly tied in business advice. They are the result of an incredible act of creative support at the 2011 ywca In the Company of Women luncheon in Hartford, CT.
Here’s the background: I was unable to attend the ywca fund raising event as I was recovering from major surgery. This was a major disappointment to me as I serve on the board of directors of this fine organization and was the the co-chair for the luncheon sponsorship committee and a table captain, bringing twenty plus people to this grand event. I had attended the past six luncheons and can recall almost every keynote speaker and their moving messages and call to action.
Knowing that I would be unable to fulfill the final 10% of effort on my table captain commitment, I asked two of my table guests and good friends, Jennifer Keohane (the incredible business outreach librarian for the Simsbury Library) and Adrienne Milics (the highly skilled and executive coach and college professor).They are both shown in this photo to the right.
This was a big ask, burdening them with the last minute logistics and communication outreach that they had to make time for in their busy schedules.
Not only did they fulfill my request, they exceeded my wildest expectations. Using their incredible creativity, cleverness and comedy (and engineering prowess of Jennifer’s husband Bill), they built 27 “Kathy heads on a stick.” Sharing these creative props with my table guests ensured that I would be there physically, not just in spirit.
This clever prop become quite the conversation starter and lit up the networking magic during the pre-luncheon mixer.
Jennifer told me she is now convinced that using props is the best way to break the ice and start a conversation during a networking situation. Laughter pulls people together. (note to self: develop new program: “Perfect your Prop”)
(okay…here goes the bridge to business advice. Wish me good luck…)
In business, I think one of the key goes should be to build deep and meaningful relationships. It’s not just about the profits and market share, salaries and offices; it’s about WHO will be there in your hour of need.
Getting ahead in business means that you have a supportive “fan base” of clients, colleagues, partners, vendors (yes, vendors), associates, prospects and networking friends.These people should care for you as a person, not just as someone who provides necessary goods and services.
These are the real rewards of being in business with people. And it can be very personal indeed. Why not?
So if you want to get ahead in business and not fall behind, start building your more mutually-beneficial relationships with people in your work life. I suggest you build them before you need them!