Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Network: The Way It’s Supposed to Be

Quick Performance Update – next week: None
Other Jan. performances:  None

A little over a week ago, Historic Character Presenter & Storyteller, Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti of Woventales Productions LLC (www.woventales.com), called me and let me know she had been contracted for a program which, due to surgery, I couldn’t do.  Okay, back to the beginning (as my Mother always starts her stories), I was requested for a program on Jan. 21, but surgery was pushed back, so I informed the contact person I was unavailable, and asked her if she wanted me to send some names of performers/presenters.  The contact person said yes, and I began a search for persons that did both Historic Character Presentations and Storytelling.  I sent an email to those folks and asked if they were available, and three persons were available.  I sent the names back to the contact person, and the rest, as they say, is history. 

When Gwendolyn and the contact person informed me that a good fit had been made, there was excitement on both sides.  Gwendolyn had a new gig and a new business connection.  The contact person had been able to make connection for a new program quickly and with the confidence of a recommendation from another performer, and our relationship remained intact and positive for future performances.  And, me, well, I felt fantastic.  This is the way it is supposed to be with performers – always looking for opportunities for others as well as myself.  How easy it would have been to just say, “I can’t help you, sorry” and give no other information.  Or, I could have sent out a general – “Hey, here’s a possible gig” and send the contact person’s information and let the shoot out begin – making her life more difficult.  But that is not the way it is supposed to be.  I, as a professional, should maintain the relationship by providing professional recommendations in a thoughtful manner which highlights other professionals and makes it easy for event producers. 

So, what is my point?

A)     Make Connections with other persons in your professions – online and at conferences, etc.  Gwendolyn and I met as LinkedIn connections.  [Okay, here it is, a SHAMELESS PLUG FOR LINKEDIN….oh, and it’s where the contact person met me as well! - www.linkedin.com]  Have you joined something?  LinkedIn?  Twitter?  Facebook?  Pinterest?  Connect with others.  Attend conferences, go to professional development and see what is outside of your world.

B)     Make your connections count.  There was a woman on LinkedIn that encouraged people to write a short note once you connected, so I have been doing.  Many of those little notes have turned into friends, not just acquaintances.  Contact people when you will be in their area, not just for “business”, but to have a cup of coffee and get to know each other.  Inform people you are connected to about performances, activities, events, professional development – THAT DOES NOT INCLUDE YOU  ONLY!  Yes, we all want people to attend our performances, but when it’s all about you – you’re no different than the telemarketer.

C)     Be wise about recommendations, BUT MAKE THEM.  I only make recommendations for people I have great confidence in.  I have seen them perform, work, talk, etc., OR I know of their caliber from other trusted friends.  When a request comes across my desk/email and I cannot meet the request, I immediately start looking for those who can, and ASK the requestor if they WANT recommendations.  (Yes, I do ask if I can do the program at a later time, but I need to help them with this event as well.)  Then I look through my list of friends (and yes, I keep a list of my professional friends).  I talk to THEM before I recommend them, to see if they have dates available.  No worse feeling an event requestor can have – to get a recommendation about someone not available.  Ugh!

D)    Finally, help those in your profession rise, by sharing what good things you have learned.  Here is my thank you for setting the example:  Kit Rogers – sending out requests that are sent to National Storytelling Network - http://www.storynet.org/; Mark Goldman – sending out his newsletter that consistently shares storytelling insights as well as other programming, just love his newsletter - http://www.storytellermark.com/newsletters/Newsletterz.asp?NL_Date=12/31/2012; Karen Chace – whose blog is the “go to” for storytelling research and sharing without hesitation - http://www.karenchace.blogspot.com/.  These, and others {I truly failed to mention Don "Buck" Creacy and Kris Hillenburg}, have been shining stars of how we need to help each other. 

Print copied from Karen's blog about "A Rising Tide" - seemed apropos
I met some tellers, a long while ago, that I wanted to share with about other opportunities to do storytelling performances.  It took them a while to believe I really wanted to assist them, because they had met another performer before me who said they would help, but then that person came back and said, “I can’t really help you, because you’ll take away my business.”  Wow!  That’s the way it ain’t supposed to be, so let’s be better! 

 What is Ms. Sheila reading?  Yes, I am STILL reading:  Anecdotes Illustrative  of New Testament Texts published by The S.S. Scranton Company, Hartford, CT (1901).  It’s a long book, but lots of new short, short stories that I can, as Dan ? would say, “give as gifts to others.”
Most interesting thing researched this week?  More of an observation:  Sometimes the hardest thing in healing is just giving yourself permission to listen to your body as it heals; sometimes my body has to shout – “Sit down.  Lie Down, or I’ll take you down.”


  1. Ms. Sheila, you are the Best!! Great post!!

  2. Thank you for the lovely "shout-out" Sheila. You are definitly part of a "rising tide" those who strive to uplift others, both in your words and deeds. I look forward to the day we meet in person.

    Warmest regards,

  3. Excellent post! I have a list of local storytellers I'll recommend when I can't do a gig--that helps me and helps them, and in the process, helps the good name of storytelling in the area.