Well, I’ve just returned from the SLA Leadership Summit and I only have this to say:
People–we have got to learn how to do the conversation thing.
I mean, really–are we that incapable of making small talk that doesn’t involve the L word? For the past three days, I don’t think I had a single conversation that didn’t center around what we do. I know it’s a librarian conference and all, but heaven help us, I’m sure even nuns get tired of talking about their work, no pun intended.
- Use any variation of “librarian”, even if you’re explaining why you don’t look like the stereotype. If I look like the stereotype, chances are you do too. So there.
- Drop the names of any vendor, no matter how oblique the connection. (“Boy, those folks at New Balance sure are something, aren’t they?”)
- Employ such hoary words or phrases such as “service-oriented”, “consortium”, “OPAC upgrade” or “homeless problem”. If you can’t resist the urge, try waiting until after dessert is served during the vendor-sponsored lunch.
- On a related note, do not utter the phrase “are you going to finish that?” at any function involving food.
- Stare at a fellow attendee’s name tag if it’s hanging from a lanyard at chest level. This goes for men and women alike.
- Try to dance. Ever.
Try beginning conversations with the following icebreakers:
- “What up with Bennifer these days?
- “I hear that Orlando Bloom is one serious hottie.” (Note to the male presidential candidate of a certain professional organization: this will sew up the election for you. Trust me.)
- “So do you think the failure of the Mars rover is the work of aliens?”
- “Just how many states did Howard Dean list in his rant?”
- “Captain Kangaroo was still alive?”
- So how do you pronounce the name of your county again?”
- “What up with Nicole’s forehead in Cold Mountain?”