I had the pleasure of taking Erica Hone to lunch today. I had never met her, and we connected on Linkedin first, which is how I even knew who she was. Let me back up a little bit. I’m kind of an anti social person. I don’t like going to big or small networking events. I grew up in a small town in North Dakota, was homeschooled, and kind of had to teach myself social skills in college. Being that my line of work doesn’t require me to talk face to face to many people, I kind of fell into what I’m doing naturally. However, I decided that I wanted to change my habit of eating lunch alone (which I figured was a waste of time unless I was actually talking to someone and hopefully expanding my network a little). So I started reaching out to total strangers on Linkedin (I found them by going to my local chapter of the PRSA Linkedin group, and sending friend requests to about 100 people there). I had joined the local chapter of PRSA previously, figuring that was how I was going to grow my network, but I was always too scared to talk to people 1 on 1 at those events they had. But I’m fearless online, and so I have about 10 lunch appointments set up with people I have never met before. And I’ll be blogging about each one. So on the experience with Erica. First of all, and I kind of expected this, I didn’t recognize her from her Linkedin profile picture. She was much better looking in person Secondly, we quickly fell into some rather personal conversation. I was kind of expecting this as well, and I totally opened up to her about my father, brothers, sisters, mother, personal goals, and all over the place. And she filled me in on her family life, her husband, school, work, and all the things that make up her life. And I learned something from her that I never would have realized on my own. We were talking about goals for our future selves (I want to do non profit work) and she said: “So do you like fundraising?” to which I replied “Not at all”. She then told me: “Everyone is good at fundraising. You just have to align the goals of the potential donor with the things your non profit does; show them what their money will do for your organization. Tell them ‘With your help, and this donation, we can accomplish this project’.”
That may be old hat to some of you, but I have always viewed fundraising as this door to door exercise much like my days of knocking on doors for 2 years in Sacramento on my LDS mission. She also explained some of the nuances of the healthcare communications problems and opportunities in Utah Valley. Many of the doctors and nurses don’t naturally exude a wonderful bedside manner 100% of the time. They’re human just like the rest of us. So Erica spends time working with the hospital staff on excellent customer service skills basically. That’s something I never would have realized.
And to end this all up, I’ll be going to lunch with random people I’ve never met except through Linkedin over the next couple of months. My goal is to take 50 brand new people to lunch that live within 30 miles of me and have a similar job description. I’ll write a blog post about each lunch. Things I learned, places we went, and the outcomes.
Erica and I went to the Tower Deli at Thanksgiving Point. Marshall, the manager, is a good friend, since I’m there just about every day.