The Importance of Sharing What Matters
Last Wednesday I hosted four friends for a casual get together in my back yard.
Here’s what’s interesting – these 4 people had never met prior.
Bringing strangers together – for business or for fun – can be a risk. As a host, it leaves me with questions like:
- Will people find commonality or have awkward silences?
- Will they stick around or leave early?
- What will they think about the hummus?
If this had been a business event, I would have put some structure to it – icebreakers, instructions, spent a lot of time introducing people.
But for this casual social gathering, I decided to let conversation happen naturally. Aside from my toast of appreciation for their friendship over the past few years, the conversation flowed like a river making its way through a canyon – smooth and refreshing.
From Small Talk to Soulful Talk
Sure there was your typical:
- So how do you know Stacey?
- What do you do for work?
- What are you growing in the garden? Oh, tomatoes? Have you ever made tomato jam?
But as we got through the surface chatter, more depth crept to the surface. We heard about…
- The “why” behind someone’s work.
- Major career changes – (i.e., from corporate IT to Home Staging and Physician’s Assistant to Financial Planner.)
- Making the tough decision to close down a 95 year old non-profit organization because of financial hardships (and hardships is putting it mildly)
- Personal issues at home
- The lessons learned starting a food business
Why does this matter?
Allow me to share 2 examples:
The day after the get together I was asked to connect 2 of the guests for networking purposes; got a text telling me how “every single person was fascinating”; and connected the friend having personal issues with a professional who can help her.
After sending the last newsletter checking in given everything happening in the world (if you missed it, click here to read it) many readers wrote to me with their own stories and to let me know that they made donations to organizations working to prevent gun violence.
That’s how connection works
Whether it’s business networking or for personal reasons, we have to show up and share what’s important.
Otherwise we miss out on opportunities to…
- Grow our network
- Show people what we’re capable of accomplishing
- Share resources and get the support we need to handle change or adversities
- Feel less alone during celebratory and challenging times
The bottom line
Not going to lie. I used to put a ton of pressure on myself to host the best, most positively talked about events. And it worked. But over time (or experience or age?) I’ve learned to take that pressure off.
Because a great experience has less to do with what we do and more to do with how we show up as a guest or host (in business that might look like client/business owner, leader/team member, etc) (Also, side note: serving home made hummus helps.)
When we have the:
- Courage to share what matters
- Curiosity, empathy and listening skills to receive those messages
- Setting or environment that allows this to take place
we can drop what’s weighing us down and feel lighter, more in control and more confident putting ourselves out there.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a garden to tend to.
Your turn to talk to me
As always, I’d love to hear from you. What are you growing in your garden this year? Hosting any fun get togethers?
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