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Today’s post offers one very simple lesson, for which I can thank my dog, Maggie.  She’s my 13 year old Goldendoodle – part poodle, part golden retriever. (She will insist she is part human as well).)  Maggie has been a really wonderful animal companion all these years: funny, loving, wise, patient, expressive, intelligent, enthusiastic, and inquisitive.  All wonderful traits that I aspire to daily.

But here’s something she does that I see the very best networkers and conversationalists do: she always brings something to me or to my guests when they come in the door.  It could be a toy, a sock she’s stolen from the laundry hamper,  or even a washcloth she’s grabbed impulsively off the counter.  (Okay, those last two are a bit gross and you could say she’s a  pretty ill-behaved dog to be such a sock or washcloth thief. Whatever.)  Despite her flaws,  I see her desire to offer up something not just as an indicator of her retriever heritage, but as a desire to welcome, to please, and to contribute.

You might ask yourself if you do something similar.  (No, I don’t mean bringing a toy, sock or washcloth to a social gathering, networking event, coffee meeting, or lunch. I’m talking metaphorically here. Indulge me.) When you are out and about, are you making an effort to bring something to the party?

What do I mean by “something?”  How about a few good conversation-starting questions? (Don’t say you can’t think of any. Just do a quick online search for “conversation starting questions.” You’ll find hundreds of ideas. ) Could you share some free samples of what your business offers?  Or what about an offer to buy lunch or coffee in exchange for some advice you’re seeking? Could you offer a sincere listening ear? Or even just a funny story or an upbeat attitude?

I’ve attended several networking events in the last few weeks and I’ve noticed that some attendees are very good at this.  Others, not so much. Which do you want to be?

Your assignment for the week:  Think of what you bring (or could bring) to any setting where there are other people.  What is your offering that will make you memorable and a warm and welcoming presence to those you meet and talk to?   Think about it, journal if you like, talk about it with your friends or colleagues. I’d love to hear what you come up with.  Or I can work with you or your team to offer up lots of ideas

Some cool news from my world:  I’m so excited!  My good friend Amy Hufford with Stellar Communications is helping me develop a brand new website.  This is more than overdue.  She’s known me for so long (30 years, I think) that the process has been both fun and effortless. She knows me better than I know myself,  just like my photographer, Korey Howell.   I feel so blessed to work with them both. (Ah, the sweet benefits of long-lasting friendships and associations!)  Stay tuned!