50% of my work happens at meetings, events, and conferences. I meet people, talk to them about food security, agriculture, and research and hope that the dialogue continues to a place where we generate support or partnership for the critical work CIMMYT does.
After spirited sessions, a bevy of PowerPoint, and the ever important card exchange we all go our separate ways. What do we do then? We email. We email thank you, we send courtesy updates, and become computer drones. The glowing screen and fonts serve as pseudo – relationship conduits giving the illusion that we are connecting in a real way.
Last night, I felt like Bill Clinton was speaking to me. I listened to his wonky policy speech and thought….maybe I need to talk to people more about the science behind my work. Maybe they do want to hear what we really do instead of a dumbed down version that I think they’re more comfortable with. Granted…I’ve still got to sprinkle in some sexy to make it palpable but what he did was brilliant, something to aspire to when you’re explaining complicated but critical information.
This morning, still high off of my surprise connection from politics to work – I did something revolutionary – I called people. I called them and asked how they were doing, we shared laughs, I gave updates on our work with passion in my voice and you know what…things happened! The needle moved forward, and the enthusiasm of our first meeting was revived. The person I spoke with said “I really am so thankful you called, it was so good to be free from typing that email”.
Our global society forces us to email more frequently as a matter of necessity but I challenge each of us to take time out once a week and pick up the phone. It’ll take you further.