We rush through the door and our kids scramble into our laps as we grab precious floor space Saturday at the Dedham Community Center.
“Is that him?”
I’ve rarely seen a group of 200 people this excited.
And then we get an even bigger surprise.
The guy we think we’re there to see stands up and introduces himself, and my 7-year-old daughter goes nuts.
You may not recognize his name, but if you’re a 1st or 2nd grader (or if you read to one), he’s probably on your bookshelf.
And he’s just the warm-up act.
Then the headliner comes out and it’s pandemonium.
He poses for a few pictures, then tells us to put our cell phones away.
He promises he’ll publicly shame us if he sees them again.
Then he suggests that, with our now free hands, we hold our children.
Then he reads to us.
I haven’t laughed so hard in a good long time.
No one’s read me a great story in a good long time.
And there we were.
200 of us, in a room, without technology, engaged and entertained by a man and his book.
It was magical.
So the next time you’re at a networking event, put your phone away.
Tell your story to the person in front of you.
Listen to their story.
Connect as people.
That’s the magical part of networking.
It’s not online, or at your desk, or on your screen.
It’s people. Real people.
The rock star on Saturday was Mo Willems.
He tells wonderful, touching, funny stories that connect across the generations.
He wrote for Sesame Street and has published over 50 books. Knuffle Bunny. Gerald and Piggie. The Pigeon series. The Duckling series.
The list goes on and on.
My daughters and I have read them all.
With adults. With kids. With prospects. With employers.
Tell your story. Tell it well. And people will remember you.
The guy who introduced Mo Willems…
Peter H. Reynolds.
He wrote “Ish” and “The Dot” which are worth reading no matter old you are.
And he illustrated the Judy Moody books, which happen to be my daughter’s favorites.
We buy more books (then even more books) and wait in two long lines.
Mr. Willems and Mr. Reynolds take each book, draw a picture, sign their name, and pose for photos.
What’s your story?