“Take a Walk Across the Room”
—Begin this Year Right!—
2018: Your Breakout Season Part 1
About a dozen years ago I was asked to be part of a committee aimed at increasing membership in our organization. Chances are, you may have found yourself in that same situation a time or two. Most of us have. (Or, if not growing the numbers of an organization, certainly growing the revenues of your business!) And I found out something absolutely, stunning…which I’ll share with you in a moment.
You might be reading this column just a day or so after a big New Year’s Eve celebration, where everyone did their best to welcome in 2018, set goals, make promises, and hope for better times. It’s easy to set a goal…much more difficult to bring it about. Make it happen. Get ‘er done. Isn’t it?
But I really have to ask the question: What are your goals for this brand, new year? Personal: what’s up ahead for you, your family, your job or business? This could (should) be the year that you ratchet up those humanitarian things, philosophical positions, spiritual paths, professional improvement. You get the idea. And business: where are you going and how do you plan on getting there?
Stupid question for you. Are you more likely to accomplish these kinds of goals while sitting in your home or office, all by yourself, or walking outside, meeting new people, hearing their experiences?
I mentioned that I learned something stunning. Here’s how it happened. The woman who was heading up the committee eventually became a coach of mine. (Yes, Coach Gary values women coaches! And this December I just celebrated 50 years of coaching advice from my wife—and life coach—Karen.)
Well…‘Coach Joyce’ gave a gift to each of the half-dozen members of the group, a hard-cover book, titled, “Walk Across the Room”. It’s all about making people feel welcome, whether they are visitors to your business, your Rotary or Kiwanis club, new folks working for your company, or even for one of your subs or suppliers. People you want to meet. Companies you should get to know.
Now, I know that some of you are out there thinking, “Hey, Coach. How’s a book about being nice going to help me improve my bottom line?” Bear with me a moment longer, and I will make this abundantly clear.
The author of the book, Bill Hybels, gave a stunning example of how, by simply walking across the room, intentionally engaging a lone person in conversation, it changed both their lives. (And here’s a thought: wouldn’t meeting just one, new, quality person in 2018 change you in some way?) I bet it would!
There’s a side note to consider, too, when it comes to goal setting, and this is going to sound weird, but you’ve got to remember that, when it comes to achieving your goals for 2018, it’s not about you! You are not there to be served—but to serve. (Now, that’ll turn upside down your thinking about achieving the boss’s goals.)
Whether it’s in our churches, our service groups, or in our own organizations, we want to be welcoming, don’t we? Of course we do. It’s a good thing! But how often does it happen that a very shy person visits us in our homes, our worship services, sits right next to us at the table of a business meeting for, say, the local masonry contractors chapter, and we don’t do all we can to make her (or him) feel welcome? And yet, what is the constant thread running through all membership groups? “We need new members. Invite somebody to the next meeting!” See the goals mis-match there?
I know I have been guilty in the past of being in a large group–hundreds of people–and yet I’m sure we still managed to look past someone who may have been not very outgoing. Worse than that, the person left feeling ‘unwelcomed’. Not in a bad, or exclusionary way–just ‘un-thinking’. We were unintentionally uncaring. But it always does seem to happen: somehow, some way, sometimes, doesn’t it?
You know, we’ve all heard stories about animals getting lost, or straying. Ever lost a dog? Any kind of a pet that you love? Probably. When that happened, what did you do?
Did you continue to sit in your chair watching the tube or reading and relaxing comfortably? Or…did you get up, go out and look? Didn’t you ‘seek until you found’ him? I’ll bet you might have asked your family and friends to help you look for him, even if it was just for them to look in their own backyards.
Your dog could be anywhere. He’ll go where it looks interesting, or smells good, or seems comfortable. But…chances are that your dog will not wander into a plain, uninteresting, sterile place. Now…replace the dog in the story with yourself. Would you stay where you didn’t feel welcome, where you were ignored, where you felt like an outsider?
Wouldn’t you be hoping that somebody would see you, come over and talk with you, show you where all the goodies are? Hey, there might be coffee. Maybe great conversation. Or food. Food’s good!
Back to the dog. You hope that a neighbor kid would see your dog, standing there in that sterile backyard, looking for a friendly face and a kind word, maybe some cold water.
Lost dogs (as well as people) won’t stay still forever, but will continue, until finding something more to their liking. So, hopefully, that kindly neighbor kid finds your pup. Too often, nobody does, and a lot of bad stuff can happen to a stray or lost dog. I don’t have to tell you.
And a lot of stuff can also happen when a person is ignored, unloved, or just…not even noticed. They don’t come back again. Think of friends not met, employees not retained or…if hired, but THEN ignored, ultimately leave. What could have been terrific relationships which might have lasted several years, never even got started. What a shame.
Lots of talk about goal setting for the new year, or at any time, for that matter. But how about this. Could we all just agree, as our goal, to be more aware, to be more welcoming. Can we begin this year, 2018, the right way? Let’s take a few steps in that direction.
Let’s all just take that walk across the room.
Coach Gary’s Corner:
Coach Gary’s Corner: Gary Micheloni is a construction company marketer, speaker, author, consultant…and a coach. Get Coach Gary to speak for your group. FullContactTeam@gmail.com And be sure and tell him about your ‘walk across the room’ story!
Copyright 2018 Gary Micheloni