Break the ice and back to school

Who would ever imagine learning something valuable at a high school orientation meeting for parents?

For many of you, “back to school” has already happened in your area. As fall approaches, the days begin to get shorter, and the commute times become longer. This week my wife and I attended an introduction to our son’s high school. I was initially anxious about attending a 90-minute presentation, but the principal applied a very simple concept called an “ice breaker.”

When I saw the slide that prompted an introduction to others at the table by answering questions like “what is your favorite ice cream flavor,” I was ready to leave. The time came when we needed to say hello to our tablemates, and surprisingly, everyone contributed and spoke about their ice cream preferences, as well as the more pertinent information about their son/daughter that would be attending the school in a few days. While I might not appear to be shy, I normally would not have introduced myself to everyone at the table. It was also somewhat relaxing to finally be an attendee at a meeting and not a host. My wife, on the other hand, embraces every opportunity to talk to everyone.

By the end of the evening, the table of six parents all became immediate friends. We had things in common besides ice cream flavors and our upcoming freshmen. A few exchanged email addresses and set up times to meet during the school season. I overheard another family welcoming a new group to the area that just moved from Michigan and knew absolutely no one in the community.

Talk to someone who you wouldn’t normally talk to — or at least say “hello.” Spread warmth, happiness and hospitality.

Have you established a lifelong friend, colleague or client simply by offering a greeting? Please share your thoughts.