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Rarely have I felt so welcomed and accepted in all my life at a business and networking event. My colleague Sara Canaday and I had just checked into our hotel in Anaheim, California.  We are both experienced professional speakers, but were attending the National Speakers Association (NSA) Influence ’11 summer conference for the first time. We were there to learn, connect, and represent our new NSA chapter in Austin.

As we approached the elevator foyer, a lovely, smiling women who we recognized from a photo in the conference program, was standing there. It was Glenna Salsbury, CSP, CPAE.  Without hesitation she reached out warmly to both of us and beamed. “Welcome, you two beautiful ladies. Welcome!”  She hugged us and introduced herself. She had no idea who we were. We had not registered yet, so we weren’t wearing our larger-than-life conference name tags.  I quickly felt any trace of first-time jitters melt away.  In that moment I knew I loved and belonged to this amazing group of communicators.  Of course Sara and I responded in kind, introducing ourselves before taking the elevator up to our rooms.

Later that evening, we heard Glenna deliver the opening keynote address.  Her talk was called “The Essence of Presence:  How to Harness the Authentic You.”   One of her key messages was this: “Duplicity defeats authenticity.” In other words, if you are one person on stage, at networking events, or in business and another in real life, it’s not healthy. Furthermore, others will pick up on it and you won’t be trusted, attractive, or effective.  You’ve got to walk your talk in all you do.

Based on my first (and subsequent) experiences with Glenna, she consistently models her message with grace, sincerity, beauty, and positivity. She is someone I will forever remember, appreciate, support, want to stay connected to, and do my best to emulate.

What have you done recently to reach out to someone who was new and needed kind, sincere, welcoming (and authentic) words? And are you consistently exuding authenticity in both work and life? My new book The Intentional Networker™: Attracting Powerful Relationships, Referrals & Results in Business offers numerous ways to be more purposeful, real, gracious, welcoming, and attractive in business.  I hope you’ll be among my first readers!