UGH. I hated business networking events so much.
It was mostly standing around, mumbling banal halfhearted small talk to random strangers and trying to avoid the “schmoozers” — you know, the ones who are there with the agenda of seeing who at the event was “worth talking to” because they could get a sale out of them. If you weren’t worth their time they’d abruptly moved on to someone else.
Worse yet was the babbler who wouldn’t let you get a word in edgewise and whose conversation rambled in so many directions you had no idea what they were talking about or what their point was (or if they had one). You’re just waiting for them to take a breath so you can make an awkward excuse and dash off to fill your glass or speak with someone who just walked in and you simply had to go speak with them right now (there really wasn’t anybody in particular — you just needed to getaway).
Small talk is the worst.
Sports, weather, politics, cha-cha-cha… sports, weather, politics, cha-cha-cha…
If I had to pick three topics of less interest to me, I don’t know what I’d pick. Watching sports always seemed like a waste of time to me — or worse, a math problem.
If Team A leads going into the second half by 6 points and Team kicks a field goal in the 3rd quarter and scores a touchdown in the 4th quarter with a two point conversion, how many points will they lose by if Team A scores a total of four more touchdowns during the game?
Plus, anytime I hear an athlete’s name in the news it’s because they are into dog fighting, beat their girlfriend in an elevator, or murdered someone.
Politics is almost as bad.
There’s really no one running for an office that doesn’t have at least half the people hating them, and people lose their minds when talking about politics these days, so I stay away from public discussions like the plague.
And the weather… well… some people think it’s too hot and some people think it’s too cold and then someone will blame global warming and now we’re back into politics… yikes!
E kama’ilio a’e kakou
I found references to all three of those Hawaiian phrases being used to convey the concept of “Talk Story“. When you talk story in Hawaii you don’t just drone on about yourself and your job. It’s an informal conversation, but goes deeper that shallow small talk. When you talk story you share ideas and opinions and history. People take time out of their day and actually slow down to talk story — they’re not babbling on a mile-a-minute to get every word in so they can pitch you their stuff and move on to the next person. And the other person wants to hear your story too!
When you talk story you are exchanging information about who you are and where you come from, and you listen to the other person share that information with you. Even though the phrase is “talk” story — a big part of the process is listening and being engaged with what the other person is saying.
When you invite someone to “come over and let’s talk story” you surrender any agenda and simply practice the art of listening and being present in the moment.