Debra Swersky
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Opt-in for weekly journal, not blog, posts.

Location. Location. Location.

I’m often reminded of a podcast that I heard a while ago (I don’t remember who and I don’t remember where) about this girl who set-up dinner parties for herself to get to know people. She would host, invite everyone over, and then have a crazy good time mix and mingling. Given my disinclination for cooking, this didn’t really sound like my cup of tea… but it made me wonder: Where, when, and how do I do my best “getting to know people”? And then it hit me… Tea! But, more to the point… Coffee! I love the smell of coffee, but can’t drink it. And always enjoy a cup of tea. Throw in the good pastries to oodle over, the ambient noise to lull you into work- or conversation-mode, and the plethora of options in any city, and I realized that I would be set for life. (Keyword: I.) 

Coffee shops work for me because they allow for intimate conversations in a comfortable setting with a small group of people. They smell good (personal opinion), look sharp (typically), and have a noise-level that is not (usually) bothersome. Unless of course, they play music super loudly. Yet as I became more accustomed to my favorite coffee shops, I realized that there were some spots that suited people and conversations better than others. The tables, the lighting, the coffee (or tea), the music, etc. etc.

And then I met someone for pie… Game. Changer.

It was like the start of that song that my sister sings from Ordinary Days (I’ll Be Here) that always makes me cry. But, without the tears… and really just the start of it. Here’s the story: I had met this person in passing quickly (basically saw her face), then one night when Emporium Pies was about to close I was standing in line waiting to get some amazing Peanut Butter Pie when I found myself standing behind this lady in a group of people. I recognized her, but couldn’t place her face. She appeared to be in the same boat. So, we collectively decided to ignore each other. Then that next week we were at an event and were introduced. Third time’s the charm. We decided to meet back at Emporium Pies to get to know each other. 

Pie vs. Coffee vs. Tea was an experience. A memorable few moments that I shared with this person. I don’t foresee forgetting the person or the meeting anytime soon, given the context, which then made me question my upcoming meetings. Where should I be meeting people? My hospitality-driven self kicked in and I recognized that my coffee shop suggestions were being driven by the person, but that coffee shops were my “comfort zone.” 

Much like selecting the perfect restaurant for a night out, my meeting locations begged for greater consideration. Which sent me down an “S”-oriented rabbit hole into optimal environments (thank you, Trello blog) and made me appreciate my five senses just that much more. 

In short, perhaps I should consider changing my “Tea With Me” campaign to something a bit more conducive to learning more about my company’s preference. You know, like they teach you in counselor training, talk to someone at their eye level. Just a thought!

Debra Swersky