Working a Room

I got to use my new tuxedo last night. My partner and I took our wives to the grand opening of the new Power of Children exhibit at The Children’s Museum. We had a lot of fun and contributed in a small way to the ongoing success of the museum.

I like events at The Children’s Museum because they are usually put together in a format that encourages people to move about the museum — thereby increasing the opportunity to interact with one another. These are events that maximize one’s chance of meeting new people. I love it! We often think that the rest of the world thinks and acts basically like we do.  Every now and then we get to see that’s not the case.

Last night, I was in my element. I love to “work a room.” I realize that many of you will cringe at that statement. To you, working a room sounds like a sleazy salesman technique designed to collect as many business cards as possible so the telephone harassment can start the next day. Before you read on, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths….

Better? OK. What I mean by loving to work a room is this: I am at my best when I’m meeting new people and becoming better acquainted with people I already know. I didn’t give or receive a single business card or telephone number during this event. I did get to say hello to several friends and associates that I hadn’t seen in some time. I met clients in a setting quite different than usual. I talked to kids who had won awards for their community activities. I met Ruby Bridges, the little girl from the Norman Rockwell picture who had to be escorted to school for her entire first grade year. I talked food, and wine, and coffee with a couple of old ladies who got a kick out of the conversation. All of this was as natural for me as swimming is for ducks.

While I spent time meeting people, the other three members of my party sat and talked among themselves. They “people watched,” but they didn’t engage. I’m not saying that to put them down. I’m just saying it stuck me as an odd way to spend an evening with a building full of interesting people. That’s when I realized that I’m wired a bit differently than most. I got a charge out of my wandering interactions. The people with me got their charge from sitting and watching. We all went home having had a great time.

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