Having a stack of business cards that looks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a networking system without a productive foundation. I’ve found this to be true through years in corporate and community business. New relationships can sink fast if a core connection is not established with sincerity, encouragement, and direct commitment. This post is about a ball of yarn connections.
As the Corporate Relations Officer for a major university, I had the challenge of bringing together corporate executives, university dignitaries, and college students in a project that would advance each party. However, to do so in a two hour meeting seemed impossible until I found an activity that I believed would be both productive and memorable for everyone. The activity produced commitment to one another in a collaborative venture.
The activity worked! I still have the letter that a top executive with an international corporation wrote to me a few days after the meeting that said, “Carolyn, I can’t believe what you got me to do, but it worked.”
Therefore, I’d like to share this meaningful activity with you that I’ve found beneficial over the years in uniting people beyond networking.
A Web of Connections:
- Have a ball of yarn
- Invite everyone to stand side-by-side to make a circle
- Start by wrapping the loose end of the yarn around your left wrist while holding the ball of yarn in your right hand
- Look directly at one person you want to connect with in the circle. Smile openly; say their name, and in a casual tone state why you find them interesting and why you would like to visit with them to learn more about their skill, knowledge, experience, point of view …
- Now toss the ball to them in a slow arch so they are able to catch it
- The one who caught the yarn now wraps it around one of their wrist while responding to the one who pitched them the ball
- Next the one holding the ball of yarn picks someone in the circle to toss the ball to with a smile, direct eye contact then speaks up about what impact the person they name had on them and why a meeting would be beneficial to both of them
- The ball should be tossed around where everyone has had the ball a time or two
- Sometime during the ball toss hopefully the ball will be tossed back to you, do NOT catch it!
- This creates a teachable moment! Go after the ball. When everyone is back in place ask these questions, “Did you notice when I needed to go after the ball all of you moved with me? Did you also notice when I went down to pick it up some of you leaned down too?
- Follow these questions with these statements, “Because of the web of connections we wove here, we willingly worked together. The united circle didn’t let me walk away alone nor did the circle of connections leave me down. Real face-to-face connections create a foundation of support. It may lean at times when lifting up is necessary for a member!”
- At the end of the activity ask, “Do you see what a web of connections look like? Can we all see that connecting goes beyond networking? Are you going to give eye contact, a smile, and speak up to create of web of supportive connections?”
At Christian Communicators our goal is to create a web of connections that are supportive, uplifting, and sincere in helping one another in our Christ focused ministries. Watching CC-sisters who live near one another meet to fellowship or partner in ministries warms our hearts. Meeting with CC-sisters at conferences, tea houses, or while on a trip are treats that we praise God for arranging. Vonda and I thank Him for the Christian Communicators Advance conference so we can reconnect with those who come from across the country or locally for additional encouragement, renewed commitment, and refreshing fellowship.
So, readers and CC-sisters have a ball in going beyond networking to connecting to bring Jesus Christ glory. It’s a fun activity that works!
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another –and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25