Face to Face

ByRussell Grossman

Face to Face

I’m writing this blog at the end of a very busy and successful few days with Canadian Chapters in Calgary,  Edmonton, Vancouver and Montreal.

If you didn’t know already, the first three of those constitute respectively the second, third and fourth largest in the Association.

I was going to come earlier in the year to Canada but the locals said there was too much snow.   (I remember too well all the snow when I was in Toronto in January, but apparently that’s nothing for Montreal – and one of the latter’s residents actually sent me an infographic to prove it).

Anyway, as always with these things, it was a hugely instructive visit and, per my last blog, I did a lot of listening.

With various groups we covered a range of subjects, including the Association’s ‘business brokerage’ proposal (which is nearing the end of its research phase) and Certification, which is offering its first level exam in June at the World Communications Conference in San Francisco.

So what struck me most of all from all these visits?

At the synagogue last week (if you’re interested, the Shaar Hashomayim in Westmount, QC – the oldest congregation, and largest building, in the whole of Canada) the Rabbi in his sermon noted that when he recently hosted a convention of  visiting Rabbis, what interested them most was not the size or magnificence of the Sanctuary but a small yet salient technical detail relating to the Ner Tamid – the perpetual lamp which hangs in front of the holy Ark.

Similarly, what struck me most of all from my visits was not actually the (excellent, thank you) responses to the big subjects we were discussing.

It was the small, but salient detail that while we have been pumping out information for months over email and social media at the international level about Certification, ABCs, Gold Quill, changes to our brand etc….much of this has completely passed people by.

Why? Because we have sometimes been guilty of the device we often advise others against – the assumption “it’s in the newsletter, therefore I have communicated it“.

It was a powerful reminder for me that for all the other means of communication, you simply cannot beat face to face.

And, at each visit and each group, as we discussed the details in person, the response “but why didn’t you tell us this earlier?” was both genuine and heartfelt.

Now of course it’s impossible, in a global organisation, to have anywhere near as many face to face conversations as we’d like; but in a busy world, where many emails often stay unread and social media rarely has staying power, voice to voice at least – if not face to face – has never been more needed.


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