During this graduation season, I thought I would share some communication advice as you embark on your new path in life. They say that good advice stands the test of time, so I decided to find previous blogs that shared strategies that might come in handy as you enter college, graduate school, or find your way in the big world out there. This first blog is from last May, and the advice is still solid!!
As I worked yesterday to accomplish the very important item on my to-do list of sending cards and checks to the graduates in my life, I smiled as I thought of the excitement and celebration associated with graduation. I love seeing and hearing the inspiring graduation speeches, so I thought this week’s blog should be my advice to the graduates (and of course you realize that this advice is really for everyone -- I’m just trying to be seasonal!!). My advice is … (drumroll, please)... write it down! That’s it! I truly believe that if we would just write things down, our lives could be so much easier! Listen - we all have so much going on in our brains. From appointments to chores to work to play to family to … you get the idea. So help your brain. Write things down. I know that I’ve preached this in previous blogs, but I needed to write it down again for you and for me (did you see that fun connection?!). In high school, Hayden participated in band and sports (soccer, swimming, golf, tennis, cross-country running), so I in turn participated in the booster clubs. To raise money, both the band and sports booster clubs manned concession stands during sporting events, and I worked many football and soccer games as well as a track meet or two. But to be honest, I wasn’t the best concession stand worker. No, I didn’t sit around or lurk outside the door to avoid working; I was terrible at remembering orders. I could look out of that window, straight into that customer’s eyes, and listen intently to the order. “I need a nachos with no peppers, a Sprite, a Dr. Pepper, some cheese sticks, and a Snickers.” As I would then turn to complete the order, my mind would go completely blank. Seriously, I could not remember one thing that was ordered. So, I would turn back to the customer and try again. And I would forget again. I was a concession stand worker failure! My brain could not listen to an order and comprehend what was being said. Most customers were pretty understanding about repeating an order over and over as they knew that I was a volunteer working to support extracurricular activities. But I could tell that many became a bit annoyed, and as the line grew longer and longer, even some of my co-volunteers became impatient. Finally, a very experienced concession stand worker handed me an order pad and a pen. “Write it down,” she said. Brilliant!! From that moment on, I wrote down the orders and efficiently served the nachos with no peppers, Sprite, Dr. Pepper, cheese sticks, and Snickers. I’m not sure why I didn’t come up with that solution as I write down most things in my life in my calendar, on a notepad, and even on sticky notes strategically placed throughout the house. But my concession stand failure taught me to first try the strategy of writing things down. It works in almost all situations!
Instead of trying to remember what your co-worker shared with you in the hallway, take a moment to write it down. Instead of trying to remember what you should bring to that meeting or appointment, write it down. Instead of trying to remember to send that birthday card, write it down (on your calendar a week before). etc Strategies believes that you should write it down. Give your brain some extra room to fill with memories instead of memos or appointments or tasks. And graduates -- congrats! Go out and conquer the world! Go on adventures! Make wonderful memories! And then -- write it down!