Each month, Red Feather Networking hosts a photo quote contest. We place a photo on our Facebook page and invite everyone to post a suggested quote. The winner of the contest gets their quote mounted on the photo where it is featured on our Facebook page, Pinterest page, Twitter account and on our website. Come "LIKE" us on Facebook so you don't miss the next contest – who knows – you may be featured here next month!
CONGRATULATIONS to Ann Farmer, our November Photo Quote Contest Winner. Show your support for Ann by retweeting, repinning, and sharing her winning submission.
Recently, a friend of mine went to a class reunion where she took a couple hundred photos of the event. She posted the pictures on her Facebook page so that the attendees could all share in the memories, make comments and repost on their own Facebook page. Since we are both into photography and editing I decided to look through the photos one day. I found myself asking her “Who is this lady” or “What does he do for a living”? While I knew no one in the photos it dawned on me that I was drawn to ask only about certain people. Once I had this realization I had to analyze WHY. I started to imagine that I was walking into the room in each one of the photos. Who in that photo would I feel comfortable approaching and making a connection with – in other words – networking with? I did this exercise photo after photo after photo. Suddenly it became clear. I wasn’t drawn the person that was most well dressed or to a particular gender. I wasn’t drawn to someone because they looked “smart” or “pretty” or “laid back”. However, there was one thing that every one of the people I was drawn to had in common – they were SMILING!
Smiles are amazing things. Smiles are much more than just a facial expression. A smile can represent feelings and is a very powerful non-verbal form of communication. A genuine smile conveys confidence as well as putting people at ease. Patti Wood, in her post “Smile and the World Smiles with You” tells us that smiles go as far back as the cavemen. To quote Patti, “Though they did not attend a lot of cocktail parties where they needed to smile and make small talk, our caveman ancestors did run into other cavemen they did not know. So they smiled as they approached a stranger to say, “I am harmless. Don’t pick up your spear and kill me.” In fact, it is the oldest form of expression –to show a desire to cooperate. So even when the smile was a football field away, the caveman noticing his approaching knew the smile was safe and he shouldn’t be afraid.”
For RFN, the symbol of the “red feather” is just like us wearing our smiles on our name badges. It’s hard to smile 100% of the time while you are talking with others, eating/drinking or concentrating on a presenter. At conferences, Kelly and I always have a red feather in our badge holder. During the conference we encourage others who are open to meeting people, networking, welcoming the lone traveler into their fold, to do the same. When you see the red feather you know that the person donning it is a safe haven; someone you can approach and be welcomed with a smile and a handshake. This concept has allowed me, Kelly and all the other “feathers” to not only provide a place of security for others but it has also allowed us to make great personal and professional connections.
So the next time you are with a group at a function remember to smile. Your smile will shine as a warm welcome to others and you will find yourself with being rewarded with meeting some awesome people and quite possibly developing worldwide friendships that in many cases will be lifelong.
If you enjoyed this post please share it with a friend and let me know by giving me virtual thumbs up either on Twitter at @chelelawson, emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org , or leaving me a comment on our Facebook page.
Thanks for reading~
We think Fridays should be fun, but unfortunately, it’s still a work day. To make your Friday just that much better, every week we’ll post a review of two apps. One app to help you get your work (or net-work) together, and one for just a bit of fun!
This coming week, the Red Feathers will be returning to the scene of where it all started, the ASTD International Conference and Exposition. Today's Friday Fun Day is lovingly dedicated to all of you. Special thanks to Austin who originally introduced us to Group Me, Dennis who reminded me to download Bump for the conference, and Sean for some of the humor in today's review.
Productivity App: Group Me
In a world of constant connectivity, we need an app that allows us to get even more connected! Group Me isn't just an app, it's a service that allows you to add up to 50 people to a texting group. Receive the texts as SMS messages or push them to app so you don't go over your wireless plan limit. Keep your networking fingers flying and share everything from pics of the perogies you can't stop eating to the last goodbye before you shut your eyes at night. Excellent for keeping your network close! Red Feather used and endorsed!
Productivity App: Bump
This app has got to be the easiest way to trade contact information and photos that I have ever seen. Pull up the app and bump phones with another smartphone user who has the app. One bump and you're done! Bump your neighbors, bump your friends and even bump your co-workers (just not in front of HR!)
Disclaimer: All apps appearing on Fun Day Fridays are apps that I’ve personally used on my Android or iPhone. I won’t review an app that I didn’t personally find useful, and I don’t get kickbacks if you click my links. These reviews are my own personal opinion and I make no guarantee on anything, particularly on my sense of humor!
|Photo courtesy of Fotocromo|
I want to talk about shoes for a minute. I know RFN is not a fashion blog, it’s a blog on networking, making connections, professionalism, social media and more. I’m sorry – for me it’s all about the shoes. I LOVE SHOES. I recently went on a four night trip and brought eight pairs of shoes. This is perfectly normal I might add. I am certainly not going to wear the same outfit in the evening that I did during the day so why would anyone assume that I would wear the same shoes?
So, what does my obsession with shoes have to do with anything RFN stands for? I will tell you.It’s all about being You. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about professionalism, networking, social gatherings or job interviews – be yourself. I talked a lot about being inside your comfort zone in my past blog posts. This can mean many things. I recently had dinner with a great group of people including Jim Knight of Hard Rock International. We talked about so many great topics that night, however one thing that Jim said really struck me. He said (and I’m paraphrasing so please forgive me Jim if I misquote you)…. “When employees can spend less time and energy worrying about covering their tattoos, or removing their piercings, or trying to simply fit in – then they can spend more time providing great customer service by just being themselves.” And it’s so true. In order to be yourself on the inside you need to feel like yourself on the outside.
I often think about those “makeover” shows. Sure the person looks amazing when they are done with the transformation. However are they really comfortable? And by comfortable I don’t mean sweat pants and t-shirts. I mean whatever defines your style. Have you ever noticed men at a wedding, business meeting or funeral and they are wearing a suit and tie? You can tell immediately which men are business men and that is their normal attire and which men dug the suit and tie out of the back of the closet for the occasion. The men who are used to being in a suit and tie would feel uncomfortable without one. That’s how I feel about high heels. I love shoes and I am most comfortable and confident in heels. Maybe this is because I’m only 5’2” – I don’t know. My point is, always give yourself the advantage by putting yourself inside your comfort zone as often as you can — and this includes your attire. If you are going to a meeting or event that you are nervous about from the start then whatever you do, DO NOT wear something that you don’t feel your best in. That is not the time to wear a shirt for the first time or try a new style or break in a new pair of shoes. If you must wear something new I highly suggest wearing it around your hotel room for a bit. Get a feel for the way it moves. Is there anything annoying you…a label…a button that is bulging… a hemline that is too short? I don’t know how many times I have worn something that probably looked OK to everyone else, but to me I felt like I stood out like a sore thumb.
When you are so focused on how you look or how others may think you look, you rob yourself of being able to relax, converse and show your true colors.For me, its all about the shoes. As I stated before, some men feel comfortable and confident in ties – I feel the same way about high heels. So to give myself that edge of staying inside my comfort zone, I wear heels as often as I can. If I’m going to a function that is formal then I certainly rock the stilettos. A business meeting would call for a nice pair of sensible heels that are either closed toe or peep toe. For a casual event, even if I wear jeans, I will wear heels. I have some great pairs of casual style heels for jeans and I also have some very casual boots with heels.
Let’s say heels are not your thing. Wear what is! If you always wear flats – You can find great dressy flats for formal events, business casual flats for dress slack or skirts to a business meeting and I have seen a ton of cute flats that would go great with casual jeans. The thing is to keep it fun, professional and comfortable.
By having such a vast collection of shoes I can always manage, no matter what the event, to find something that makes me feel like I’m presenting my very best self both inside and out.
If you found this blog helpful, I encourage you to sign up for our email list, send us a note, or comment on our Facebook page. Share with your tweeps on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google + by simply clicking the links at the top of this post. ALSO — If you have any comments or suggestions for future posts that you would be interested in hearing about please leave your comments below.