Check your hair, face, teeth one more time then grab your room key and you’re off! Go down the elevator off to a session, meeting, meal or wander the exhibit hall and remember who you are and what you represent.
I’ve been attending Higher Education association conferences since 1986. Since 2001 I’ve participated in over 25 a year, every year. I love them- every second of them. They are fantastic opportunities to learn, teach, share and to meet and engage with new and old friends & heroes. Still – I’m aware that we don’t always do what we know. We teach our students and staff to be friendly and welcome others, to create an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued. Do we walk our own talk when we enter new environments at our conferences? Do you acknowledge everyone you pass with a “hello”? We are all in the same hotels, conference spaces, keynotes, socials and share the same nametags. Why is it so difficult to say hello?
I think it’s FEAR. Fear that the other person won’t say “hello” back to us and reciprocate our greeting. Let’s, all of us, let go of this fear by changing our perspective. Let’s view each greeting as a gift. When really giving we don’t expect reciprocity. We can repeatedly give the gift of acknowledging another professional with a smile and a greeting. Sometimes we will be acknowledged and our greeting returned and other times we will be met with a “do I know you? look as the recipient of our gift picks up their pace and moves quickly down the hall. Give your gift. Why be afraid? The worst thing that can happen is that our gifts are not reciprocated. There are so many worse things and if we can’t do this are we really legitimate role models for our students and our staff?
Let’s take off to our conferences and conventions ready to give our gifts. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all focused on giving…we would really be walking the values we espouse. It’s a beautiful thing when our values and actions authentically intersect. It’s who we are and what we represent. So please, stand up straight, smile, make eye contact and give your gifts.
BONUS: I read this outstanding post by Lisa Tetzloff early last week & it got me thinking…
BONUS #2! After posting this I started following #ASCA11 the closing keynote had begun…Dr. Larry Roper, Vice Provost for Student Affairs, Oregon State University ~Friend & Hero