Safire, for illustration, looks at Lincolns repetition of the word give. help writing an essay xv, One I retrieve listening peeping formed the ballock, and Spud the testis.

It Came Alive!

Posted by sarajane - May 11, 2012 - Uncategorized

I just had the wonderful opportunity to attend the American Society for Training and Development Conference in Denver, Colorado.  The conference, as usual, lived up to my expectations.  The speakers were fantastic and enlightening, the expo booths interesting and overwhelming, and the networking extraordinary.  I don’t remember how many conferences I have been to–over 10–and this one ranked high.  Denver was a great host city and the weather was unbelievable!

Now to the blue bear.  Evidently, Denver selected the blue bear as a mascot and there is a very large blue stone one outside of the Convention Center looking in as shown in the picture. During the general session on Tuesday, the speaker (John Kao who was mesmerizing) asked the audience to pair up with someone and do a story improvisation starting with a sentence something like this:  All of you are here in this great big theatre and suddenly you hear a very loud boom coming from outside…….  We were to take turns continuing the story and switch when he said to do so.   I was person A and my long time dear friend from Vincennes, Indiana, (we purposely arranged to meet at the Conference) was person B.

She and I had talked about the blue bear every morning as we walked over to the Conference Center so I continued the story by saying that someone ran outside and the blue bear had fallen over….and we went back and forth to where the blue bear had come alive because he wanted to come in and see all the wonderful people who were at the Conference.  He had been standing outside for so long and was so stiff that he fell over when he tried to move.  He was telling everyone to not be afraid–he just wanted to network too!

The exercise was a great activity for thinking outside the box and developing your creativity.  The Wells Fargo Theatre was loud with talking and laughter.  I would have loved to hear what some of the other stories were that had been created in that brief span of time.  I wondered if anyone else had talked about the blue bear.

I was reminded how doing something so simple could be so engaging and energizing to a group of people.  I was reminded that something or someone that is seen everyday (and perhaps taken for granted) could take on a whole new light if seen from a different perspective.   I was reminded that humor and laughter can start your day out with a positive and motivating attitude.  I was reminded that stories can really create learning moments in a training session……whether they are real or made up.  Remember that the brain can’t tell the difference between something that is real or that is vividly imagined.  You can do it….imagine the bear coming alive!

Never Satisfied

Posted by sarajane - April 24, 2012 - Uncategorized

It is amazing how people talk about the weather.  I don’t believe that anyone is ever satisfied.  In the winter, it is too cold (which in Mississippi is not very cold but below 50 gets the fire going at our house).  In the spring, people are looking for the warm weather but this spring it got too hot too fast and we were experiencing upper 80’s in March and April.  The fuss was about it being too hot for this time of the year and who knows what to wear when it is 80 and it’s just March (you know, all that no white or sandals until after Easter and other clothing etiquette).  So now, we’ve had a “cold spell” and it’s in the 60’s again and you hear frustration with the chill.  I can guarantee you that when it hits 100 in July, it will be way too hot and people will be talking about how they want it to cool off–as long as it isn’t too much.

I have my personal frustrations with it as I travel around the country facilitating the Bud to Boss classes for the Kevin Eikenberry Group.  I’ve been trying to decide whether it will snow when I am in Denver next week and if it will be cold a week later in San Francisco.  I’ve decided that we, as a people, are too obsessed with the weather.

So why is that?  Is it because it is something that everyone has in common and everyone can relate to in some way or another?  Is it because of the fact that it is a relatively safe subject and you can discuss it with your friends and co-workers without getting into some kind of discussion about differences of opinion on the subject?  I just trained a class of managers who are preparing to conduct interviews and performance reviews that it was one of the subjects that was acceptable for “building rapport” at the beginning of the session because you probably wouldn’t get into trouble over discussing it.

Or, is it because we don’t feel comfortable discussing other subjects?  We’ve all been told about the three subjects that we should never talk to others about:  politics, religion, and sex.  I would agree that with all the controversy about the political situation in an election year, the vast differences of opinion there are about religion, and the ? ……about the other subject, that these should be off the table.  There are, however, a lot of other “safe subjects” to discuss without being obsessed (and apparently) dissatisfied with the weather.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Talk about the latest book you’ve read.  Now, I know for some of you that may take you back a few years.  Just think about how much more you could add to your networking conversations if you’ve read the latest business books or what’s on the best seller list.  It has been interesting to me to find out how many people I have been able to discuss The Hunger Games with since someone talked me into reading the book (I think I will pass on paying to see the movie though).  I’m positive that you can find some book that you’ve enjoyed that will increase your repertoire beyond, “what do you think about this weather?”
  • Discuss your favorite sports team.  That’s another safe subject.  This subject has started conversations with several participants in my classes.  Since I grew up with three brothers who are sports fans and have a husband that is an avid sports watcher, I can hold my own on many of the major sports.  Sports are much more interesting than the temperature.
  • Share your favorite recipe, menu item, or restaurant.  People love to talk about food–and most of us can find something interesting and positive to talk about in this area.  We are generally interested in new menu items and places to try.  That would be a change from always complaining about the weather.
  • Ask about where someone is from or grew up.  I’ve been amazed at how accurate the concept of six degrees of separation really is.  A couple of weeks ago, I had a participant in a class in Philadelphia who had been coached by a coach who shared the philosophy of a basketball coach that coached at a high school that was in the same conference as my high school and whose biography I had on the shelf in my library.  For my friends and relatives that read my blog–it was Jack Butcher of Loogootee High School.  When I said I was from Indiana, the class participant asked me if I had ever heard of him.

My point is that there are so many things you can talk about besides the weather.  No one ever seems to be happy about how the weather is at any given point.  I thought it was great when it was so warm in April.  I was guilty, though, of saying that I wondered how hot it would be in August if it was this warm now.  It’s just like with everything else–if you can’t say something positive about the weather (like how it was an absolutely gorgeous 65 degree day in central Mississippi today) don’t say anything about it at all.  Find another conversation piece.  Expand your horizons.  Think outside the box.  Find something that you are completely satisfied with and talk about that–for a change.  You will be surprised how much more positive your outlook will be.


March Madness Leadership Messages

Posted by sarajane - March 19, 2012 - Uncategorized

I just love March Madness–and not just because I am a basketball fan.  There is so much one gets in return from watching the games–the inspiration, the motivation, the thrill, the entertainment–along with all of the great basketball.  Read on…

Learning Through Imitation

Posted by sarajane - March 13, 2012 - Uncategorized

I recently had the pleasure of visiting my family in southern Indiana.  It is always great to see everyone to catch up on what is going on and to get the real visual and physical that you don’t get from pictures and Skype.  My great niece, Addyson, who is now 14 months old has changed a lot since I saw her last summer.  Babies are truly a wonder.  What was most interesting to watch was how she learns from others.Read on…

Up to Date, Yet More Behind

Posted by sarajane - February 12, 2012 - Uncategorized

This week I upgraded my cell phone–finally.  I waited until I was eligible for an upgrade to trade in my phone for a newer model.Read on…

Ordinary People, Extraordinary Things

Posted by sarajane - January 31, 2012 - Uncategorized

I recently attended the Mississippi Craft Center’s Opening Reception for the Gwendolyn Magee Memorial Exhibition.  Gwen was an exquisite textile artist.  Her quilts have been on display all over the country, including one that is on permanent display at the Smithsonian.  Read on…

Leadership Lessons From Thunder

Posted by sarajane - January 13, 2012 - Uncategorized

In my last blog, I mentioned that on New Year’s Eve, I had been saddened by two separate pieces of news.  One was that my mother’s dog, Thunder, had been run over and killed by the substitute post man that morning.  My heart went out to my mother who had lost her companion, her room mate, and her guard dog and would now, once again, be alone in the big farm house in the evenings.  Read on…

If Only She Could Talk

Posted by sarajane - January 3, 2012 - Uncategorized

The last couple of days have been frustrating.  Our dog child has not been herself.  She’s been going from back yard to front yard (after we open the door and let her through the house) and scratching and whining for this change with too much frequency. Read on…

Multi-tasking is effective and efficient! Really?

Posted by sarajane - December 3, 2011 - Uncategorized

In this post I am going to tell on myself.  I’m not very proud of what happened; so, it’s tough to reveal it to the world.  There are lessons to be learned though.Read on…

Would Your Employees Wave a Rally Towel?

Posted by sarajane - October 30, 2011 - Uncategorized

I grew up in Southern Indiana and had almost a straight shot west to St. Louis.  Because of my Daddy and three brothers, I was a sports fan and, most notably, a St. Louis Cardinal fan.  So, I’ve watched with keen interest to the events of the last three months.  I saw them play in August with my middle brother and they were about 10 games out for a wild card berth.  How things have changed since then!  It has been really great for me, not just because of the fantastic baseball and a wonderful result.  I have, through texting, communicated with my two younger brothers more in the last month than I probably have for the last several years (and I hope it keeps up post season!). Read on…