Monday, June 13, 2011

10 Things I've Learned

Yes, we practiced making phone calls with a banana at my training!
Partnership development and raising support has been one of the most multi-faceted experiences that I’ve participated in to date—and I’ve learned a great many things. For example, children often ask far more insightful questions than adults and GoogleMaps is useful for most of the way…but then abandons the driver on the final road, which can have dire results. Here is just a snapshot of ten things I’ve learned while support-raising the past eight months.

1. Always be sure to cross-check email addresses when you are simultaneously corresponding with multiple people who share the same first name.
Otherwise you might email a person four or five times, carrying on a lovely conversation, all the while getting more and more confused....because it's not the person who you thought she was!

2. It’s a good idea to confirm the date and time of your presentation several days before you are presenting....

Or you might find out two hours before the presentation was actually supposed to occur that you had the date wrong on your calendar for months ...and you live two hours away!

3. Try to determine where to point the handheld clicker for advancing your slides before your presentation…
.... unless you really enjoy frantically aiming the clicker all over the sanctuary and screen and sound box and ceiling looking for the elusive magic spot.

4. Remembering everyone’s name is virtually impossible.
Everyone will know your name, and you won't remember a single person of the 57 people you met that night. Just clasp hands warmly, smile, and exclaim, "It's so good to see you!!"

5. Make connections.

This is probably important anywhere, but in Minnesota, it’s vital. Any connection will do—even if it is your cousin's hairdresser's sister's dog-sitter. Once I spent the better part of two hours in a three-hour meeting making connections—and there were only five other people.

6. Always start conversations with the topic of The Weather.
“It’s been a pretty _<insert current meteorological trend>_ , hasn’t it?”

7. Try to surreptitiously watch while people inscribe their names on your sign-up sheet to see if you can read their handwriting.
Or, you could take a course in handwriting analysis to decipher some email addresses.

8. Wearing ethnic clothing is useful.

If you show up to an event thinking everyone will be in jeans and they happen to be wearing ties and dresses, then you won’t feel extremely underdressed and the epitome of a poor, starving missionary. In addition, no one else will likely be wearing such clothing, and everyone can easily find you after the service!

9. DexOnline or Google might not have the right mailing address.
Be forewarned before you send that thank you note…

10. Going to coffee for a support-raising meeting with a person of the opposite gender, can, to the clueless and unsuspecting missionary, turn into an accidental date.
Enough said.