Although the 80 degree weather here in Houston does NOT make it feel like Thanksgiving, we are only 9 days away from the big day. I think that Thanksgiving is the perfect holiday -- great food, time with family, and really no pressure for the perfect present or any major needed decorations. And, my favorite meal is turkey and dressing. In my family, you picked your birthday meal, and every year I picked turkey and dressing as my first choice. Most years I did not get my first choice -- you see my birthday is in October, and my mom refused to make turkey and dressing in October, November, and December. But on Thanksgiving, my mom always goes way overboard with the food. And for that I am thankful! But today’s blog is about some of the things I am thankful for when it comes to communication (I always need to remind myself the real purpose of this blog!). These things truly shaped my philosophies about communication and helped to develop the strategies that I use and share with others.
I’m thankful for …
My mom’s ability to talk to anyone! For years, I turned red with embarrassment as my mom talked to EVERYONE. From the cashier to the sacker, from the receptionist to the doctor, from the neighbor to the stranger, my mom always finds a way to connect to people by just chatting with them. Most conversations are short and sweet, but for that moment, each person feels like my mom truly cares about him or her. And guess what? Now I totally talk to everyone and encourage others to do the same. Effective communication involves engagement, so work to connect to all you meet just by talking!
The stories told by Mrs. Susan Hoefer (my eighth grade English teacher and my student teacher mentor)! Mrs. Hoefer loved to tell stories - about her kids, her own school experiences, even about her trip to the grocery store. As an eighth grader, I didn’t always see the connections between her stories and the skills we were studying in class. When she started a story, as students, we just relaxed a bit and listened for the enjoyment of the story. I was then lucky enough to return to Mrs. Hoefer’s class as a student teacher, and during that wonderful experience, I realized how strongly the stories illustrated a point or showed an example of the literary term or skill. Mrs. Hoefer’s stories were purposeful and effective, even when her students didn’t realize it. Stories are the very best way to teach others and such an easy way to more strongly connect. And as you can see from my blogs, I now tell stories just like Mrs. Hoefer.
Google! Yep! I am so very thankful for Google and its ability to search for things like what to do on vacation to which washing machine is the best. But I am super thankful that Google allows me to search how to write or say stuff. As a former English teacher, I feel like I need to say things in the “correct” way while also making my blogs conversational. So if in doubt, I search Google. My searches include things like, “How do you use affect in a sentence?” Or you know how sometimes a word can just look wrong to you like it is misspelled? I can totally Google the word to double check the spelling. And it only takes a few seconds to search. Making sure that you are correctly writing or saying things shows that you care about communicating in the most effective way, and Google makes it so easy to check!
etc Strategies believes that Thanksgiving is the perfect time to take a moment to think about all that you are thankful for and work for a way to communicate your gratitude. Send a note or make a call to share how you feel. And enjoy your turkey and dressing -- I can’t wait!