Category Archives: blog

Take five minutes – or even just one

If you’re a fan and regular reader of Mark Nepo’s inspiring daily reader, The Book of Awakening, you may have read his October 26th entry on “The Effort to Listen.”  It was, like many of his entries, perfectly timed and filled with powerful messages I needed to hear. A few highlights:

  • “We all suffer, at times, from the effort…to  fix or advise rather than to listen [which is] the first duty of love…
  • “When I have truly listened in my life…it is receiving [the

This one’s for business women in the ATX

If you’re a business woman in the Central Texas area (or need an excuse to come to Austin on a Friday), you won’t want to miss the Texas Women in Business (TWIB) luncheon on October 18 at Chez Zee in Austin, featuring yours truly.

As part of its 10th anniversary year, the founders and board invited me to speak on how women can build more powerful and diverse resource network(s) so they can thrive professionally and personally through both the good times – and the …

Interested vs interesting: New thoughts on a classic quote

So often we’re fed advice and pithy statements by well-meaning peers, mentors, coaches, and experts, not realizing there’s a pretty good chance the advice has been inadvertently misquoted, misattributed, or perhaps even misinterpreted.  I think we’ve all been on both the giving and the receiving end of this.

For example, there’s a popular networking nugget, which not surprisingly I heard someone say at a business meeting today. Here it is with a few variations:

  • “Be interested, not interesting.”
  • “Don’t be interesting; be interested.
  • “Better to

The ironic things we “smart” humans do

We humans are supposedly the smartest of all the animals. And yet, we do some pretty ironic and silly things. Ever notice this?

Here’s an example – maybe not directly related to how people connect, but you may see the metaphor.

I have neighbors (lovely people, by the way) who have put a lot of time, money, and effort into landscaping their front yard. I’m guessing their vision was to make their property more attractive and appealing. They’ve installed trees, shrubs, and flowers that are, …

Being courageous enough to connect authentically and imperfectly

Nothing puts the brakes on our desire to start conversations and connect with others quite like fear.  And there are many flavors of social fear from which to choose. Fear of any type of social engagement, especially with people we don’t know. Fear that comes from not knowing what to say to get (and keep) a conversation going. Fear of the possible awkwardness (or conflict) that might occur. Fear of being seen as less-than, imperfect, uninformed, or unworthy. Fear of being our true selves. Fear …

Is networking an art or a craft?

I have a question for you:  When you network, socialize, converse, connect – whatever you prefer to call it – is your style more that of an artist? Or a craftsperson?

This question came to me after reading the book Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayle and Ted Orland. The book came highly recommended by a very well-read friend who knows me – and my work – very well.  (Don’t you love those friends? The …

The people who keep our lights shining bright

There’s a delightful store in my neighborhood that sells all kinds of cool merchandise ranging from quirky dinner and glassware to whimsical wall art and handcrafted journals.  I try to visit this favorite store every few weeks, just to see what’s new.  I also like to rummage through a big round bin of 3 by 5 recycled paper cards imprinted with interesting quotes set in vintage typestyles. These cards are among the least expensive items in the store. What’s more, the quotes are way more …

Who do you go to?

It’s always fun to win something.  Which is what I did last weekend when I attended a brunch for women in the communications industry. What made this prize even better? It was a book:  Know Yourself: A Book of Questions.

If you’re familiar with my work you may already know that “Know Yourself” is among the first things I teach when it comes to becoming a more Intentional Networker – and a happier, more successful person. You may also know that I absolutely love interesting …

The Four Levels of Networking Awareness

In talking to people and working with my clients, I’ve identified four basic levels of Networking Awareness.  Can you identify where you are based on the descriptions below?

  1. You don’t know what you don’t know.  You’re unaware that you could (and should) be making, maintaining, and building connections and friendships, both at work and in your personal life.  You don’t know about (or refuse to believe in) the many benefits being well-connected can bring you personally and professionally. You think you’re doing fine as is,

Powerful strategies for better conversations

One of the things I love most about my work is getting people together to learn about and enjoy good conversation. This, in turn, often leads to a number of benefits for those who participate in my sessions.  These benefits include:

  • Learning what “good” conversation really is and what it feels like
  • Meaningful connection or even a new friendship. (You can call this “networking” if you wish, but I think it’s much more powerful.)
  • A tidbit of critical information.
  • A potential solution to a vexing