Kathy Davenport Image Design

Success Coach, Motivational Speaker, Fine Art Photographer

"When you discover your purpose and put your thoughts, words, and actions into harmony, your whole world becomes a symphony. "

Discover.  Create.  Transform.

Dating Over 50: Home Depot Hook-Ups

I did something really bold.  I started dating again. I never imagined myself in this place, but here I am in the second half of my life looking for a date.  I dipped my toes into the water about a month ago and discovered a whole new world.  So I thought I'd share my experiences for those of you who are contemplating such a move.  Or for those of you who are happily with a partner, I'll let you have the experience from an insider's view and you can say, "Thank goodness I don't have to go through that again!" 

First of all, have fun!  When you’ve reached the age of 50 or beyond, you’ve got this whole bucketful of serious life experiences behind you.  Many of us are single because we’ve experienced the death of a spouse or a divorce.  We’ve ended and begun new careers.  Our kids have grown and left the house.  We’re in a whole new realm.  It’s an exciting time, so approach it that way.  Dating doesn’t have to be a serious, fearful experience.  Just let go, color outside the lines, and have fun!

Forget about going to a bar to meet people.  For those of us over 50, there are far moreinteresting places to meet new people than being a barfly.

There’s more than produce being picked up…  It wasn’t until it happened to me on three different occasions that I realized there was more happening at Safeway than people picking up items for their evening meal.   At the checkout counter, a cute guy behind me commented on my shrimp, cream, pasta, and veggies.  “So what are you making for dinner?” he asked.  That led to a quick conversation with him saying how much he’d love to have my recipe.  I was too impressed thinking that here was a guy who could cook instead of realizing he was hinting for my phone number.

Home Depot is where it’s happening.  The most fun place I’ve found to look for a potential date is Home Depot on a Saturday night. My first flirting experience at Home Depot happened totally by accident.  I’m a naturally friendly person and say hi to everyone.  I was pushing my cart through a center aisle, looked over to say hi to a guy and crashed my cart into the display.  I’m sure he thought I was hot for him because I kept seeing him throughout the store and I noticed he followed me to the checkout.  No, a hook-up didn’t happen, but that experience made me more aware of the fun potential on a Saturday night at Home Depot.

A very inviting lounge area at Home Depot.

A very inviting lounge area at Home Depot.

Home Depot has the most wonderful lounge area--aka patio section.  Take a seat and you’ll wish they offered cocktail service.  Put your feet up and do a little people-watching.  It’s fun and if you meet someone interesting you can always take a romantic stroll through the garden center or go check out interesting gadgets such as light-up toilet seats. 

Work it!  One of my friends swears that Home Depot is the ultimate place for 50+ age women to hang out. She knows the hours when contractors show up and when the motorcycle guys cruise through.  If she finds someone attractive, she pretends to need more than one bag of mulch and asks if the guy can help her put it in her cart.  And then of course someone has to help her take it to her car.  She even had a guy spend 20 minutes helping her select paint for her home.  When she asked if he worked there, he said “no” and gave her a wink.  Guys—just imagine the possibilities of showing off your skills!!!

Go when it’s less busy.  I started going to Home Depot on Saturday nights because it was less busy and I could always find someone to answer my home-repair questions.  Saturday nights are leisurely and if you look down the aisles you’ll notice muscular guys pretending to be checking out the power tools.  And the women who are there are generally capable, working women who know what they’re doing or are willing to strike up a conversation to get help.  It’s a perfect set-up.

And if you don’t believe Home Depot is the happening place…  I confessed to a recent date that Home Depot is the new hangout.  After dinner he said, “Come on, you’re taking me to Home Depot so I can see the action!”  We sat on a loveseat together and not more than 2 minutes after sitting down, a guy walks by and gives my date a big thumbs up--as if to say, “Yeah, you got this!”

Got a great pic of your Home Depot Hangout?  Share it on my Facebook page at The Life Café!

©2016 Kathy Davenport Image Design. All rights reserved.  This article may be used with permission from the author.

Is Your Big But Holding You Back?

It’s not what you think.  This article is not about your lower anatomical area.  It’s about the area between your ears. 

Ever thought much about the words that come out of your mouth?  Of course you have, especially when you’re getting ready to have a difficult conversation or you’re practicing a presentation.  You carefully choose your words.

But what about everyday conversations?  Many times we are less careful about the words we use and as a result, we inadvertently send the wrong message.

One word can change the way people hear what you’re trying to say.  Saying this one word can derail the conversation from a positive dialogue to a potential confrontation.

It’s about your big “BUT.”

If you’ve ever had a big “but” stuck in your face, you know what I mean.  It’s a STOP sign that immediately changes the course of a conversation.  “But” brings out the defensive opposition. 

I recently listened to a conversation between a group discussing a project.  Ideas were flowing back and forth.  Then someone said, “That’s an interesting idea, BUT….” 

I watched the conversation go from free flowing to pregnant pauses.  Even the body language was visibly different. 

The big “BUT” had made an appearance. 

“BUT” is a showstopper, a conversation-killer.  A party-pooper (sorry, couldn't resist the but-pun).  The "but" word makes you sound negative.

But (yes I said it), imagine if the conversation had gone like this:

“That’s an interesting idea, AND….” 

Or simply, “AND here’s another way to look at that issue…” 

The word “and” is inclusive.  It’s a positive word that keeps the flow going.  Even though you may be introducing a different thought, you’re respecting the conversation and inviting it to continue.   If you want to build your communication skills and relationships with others, learn to insert the word “and” instead of “but” into your sentences and see what happens.

And in your own head, the BUT word holds you back.  It's an excuse to not allow yourself to think bigger or better.  For example, maybe you've thought, "I'd really like to change jobs, but...."  But lets you limit yourself.  What if you were to say, "I'd really like to change jobs, AND the way I could make that happen is by....." 

Of course there are a few times when the big but is appropriate.  If you're giving a presentation and deliberately want to re-direct audience attention, then "but" is alright.  Think of infomercials with the famous shouting line, "But wait--there's more!" I even used the "but" word earlier in this article to introduce a change of thought.  However, remember that presentations are different from conversations.

I challenge you to count how many times your BUT shows up in a day.   Watch how people react when you say the word.  Or better yet, check your own reaction when someone puts their BUT in your face.  Or ask how you're limiting yourself when you say "BUT." Changing your BUT for the better is a subtle shift, one that will have huge impact when framing your thoughts and words, and will leave a much more positive impression when conversing with others.

 

Want more info like this?  Sign up for my newsletter or better yet, ask for a complimentary coaching session.  Or join our conversations at "The Life Cafe" on Facebook.  Look forward to connecting with you!

©2016 Kathy Davenport Image Design. All rights reserved.  This article may be used with permission from the author.

 

The Art of Everyday Presentations: Are You Making Any of These Mistakes?

At some point in your life, you're going to have an opportunity to give a presentation.   I’m not talking about standing on a stage in front of hundreds of people. I’m talking about every day presentations—updating your co-workers on a project, giving a talk to a civic club, leading a conference call, chairing a fundraiser, training your team, motivating a group of volunteers, or persuading legislators to support your cause.

I’ve seen great presentations and I’ve seen lots of bombs. Unfortunately, when a person gives a poor presentation, the audience misses out on great information and the opportunity to take decisive action or uplift others in fun and different ways.

You don’t have to be a professional speaker to give a good talk. You can learn a few techniques to make yourself credible and audience-worthy, no matter if you’re speaking for one minute or one hour. The ability to effectively connect and communicate with a live audience is a skill worth cultivating in this era of text messages and e-mail efficiency. But are you currently making any of these mistakes?

  •  Spewing too much information, both verbally and visually
  •  Forgetting the point of your presentation
  •  Failing to connect with the audience
  •  Disrespecting the audience’s time

I’ve watched thousands of everyday presentations and always make it a point to check the audience’s reaction as a measure of how well a speaker is delivering the message. Look around the next time you’re in a meeting, and take note of what’s working and what’s not. One of the most recent speakers I watched left the audience buzzing and excited. Another speaker—although he had good information–had the audience checking their watches and wishing he’d move on.

Here’s how you can polish your presentations:

Cut it Back. Casual, everyday speakers usually have anywhere from 15-30 minutes to get their message across. So the tendency is to put a ton of information on a slide or over-talk the topic. If you find yourself saying, “I know this slide is a bit of an eye test,” or “I know this is a lot of information for you to digest,” then it’s too much information. Pare it down–a lot. Your audience can always contact you to get additional information and it opens the door for follow-on conversations.

Get to the Point. If you’ve been invited to speak, be clear on the purpose of your presentation. Your key point (or points) should stand out and your audience should leave with a memorable message or call to action. I once listened to a woman give public testimony for a new law that was under consideration. In her 60 second time allotment, she rambled from the cost-of-living to global warming–neither of which had anything to do with the topic. When she finished speaking, lawmakers had to ask, “So do you support the proposed law or not???” She missed the point.

Say it with a Story. Most people have short attention spans, so it’s important to quickly connect with your audience. One of the best ways is to engage your audience with a story. For example, if I wanted to tell you about the need to reduce stress in your life, I could relay statistics and talk about the effects stress has on your health. Or I could tell you about the time I wound up in the emergency room in severe pain and the doctor looked at me and said, “Lady, I don’t know what’s going on in your life, but unless you get rid of some of the stress, you’re going to wind up with two motherless children.” (True story.) Stories are relatable and memorable, and are a great way to deliver your message.

Respect the Schedule. Everyone is on a schedule. If you’ve been given the opportunity to speak, stay within parameters. Just because you’ve been given the microphone or are holding people captive on a conference call, it doesn’t mean you have a license to talk until you’re tired. Cut yourself off when your time is up or when you’re being waved off the podium. Being respectful of everyone’s busy schedules is a more powerful message than anything you feel you have to say in overtime.

Know Your Audience. Before your presentation, take the time to learn a little about your audience. Are they a service organization? Are they business-builders? Age range? What brings them together? Have they been together a long time? Knowing a little about your audience will allow you to tailor your comments and shows you’ve taken the time to prepare especially for them.

Knowing how to give a good, everyday type of presentation is a skill that anyone can learn. Start with these fundamentals and try them the next time you’re asked to give a talk. Your audience will appreciate the difference!

Cheering for you!

 

If you'd like advice and coaching on how to create a more meaningful presentation--or how to uplevel all aspects of your life to create major breakthroughs--contact me a for a complimentary 30-minute "New Year, New Chapter, New You" coaching session.