I was reminded today of a powerful connection tool that's easy to use and absolutely free: the pen and small notepad. I first was impressed by the use of this simple, low-tech tool years ago when used by Warren B. French, Jr., retired President of Shentel and an international leader in the telecommunications industry. He always carries a little spiral notepad in his pocket, and if you ask a question or say something he wants to follow up on, he writes it down, and by golly, you'll get a response within 48 hours. I've seen other people use small index cards equally effectively.

Today I was in The Market in Woodstock (a gem of a market that carries quality foods, health foods, and unique country gifts, as well as local foods and crafts) when its owner, Rich Church, came in. Rich is one of those warm, friendly people who has a real gift for making others feel special.  When he asked how my business was going, I knew he was really interested, because as I told him about this new venture and blog, he asked questions to get more details. And then he used the magic connection tool…he walked around the counter to get a pencil and notepad so he could write down the name of my website.

Our whole exchange took less than five minutes, but I can assure you that that one action on his part — writing down my website's URL — made the difference between a polite conversation and a meaningful connection…between talking and engaging. I left feeling affirmed, and I made a mental note to myself to use this magic tool more often myself, whether I'm talking to friends or business associates.

And where do you think I'm most likely to shop the next time I need a product that The Market carries?

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