Leave Some for the Guests

By Michael Roderick  -  On 12 Feb, 2015 -  0 comments

When I first moved to the city I was introduced to the idea of hosting gatherings by a friend of mine who did club promotion. The concept was fairly simple: You find a venue that is empty on a certain night of the week, you get some kind of food and drink special and you promise a good number of people show up. I used this technique to host many gatherings for theatre companies at many restaurants and in the process raised a lot of money. There was one event that I hosted that stands out not because of the event itself, but because of something I was doing before the event started.

My favorite food is deviled eggs. If you put a tray of deviled eggs in front of me, I will likely eat them all because that is just how much I enjoy them. When I visited London I was introduced to Scotch Eggs and the same love affair ensued. I was hosting a presentation evening for a number of director friends and I had arranged for some pretty extensive catering and one of the offerings was deviled eggs with candied bacon. Before the guests arrived I grabbed one and popped it into my mouth. Shortly after that I found myself grabbing a few more, then a few more. I was a bit lost in my egg reverie when I heard a voice behind me. It was one of the volunteers helping me host the event. She jokingly said:

“Don’t eat them all, Mike. Leave some for the guests.”

I put the tray back down and went about my last minute preparing, but had she not stopped me, I’m pretty sure no one would have had deviled eggs that night.

Yesterday I was reminded of that experience as I sat down to meet with someone who is a natural giver. She opened the meeting asking for an update on what I had been up to and as I gave the update, she dug in and offered all kinds of great advice for my business and the next steps I should take. She also coached me through some decisions I had been wrestling with and came up with some new ideas for collaboration. I was caught up on the excitement of it all, just like I had been caught up in the goodness of those deviled eggs. I took a moment and looked down at my watch and realized that we had been talking for 45 minutes and I hadn’t even gotten to hear about what she was up to yet. She would have gladly gone on and continued to help, but I stopped her and thanked her. I then turned the conversation back around and asked her what she was working on and most importantly what she was struggling with. She wryly smiled and said, “Besides deflecting?” She then went in to telling me about her work and her current challenges and I was able to come up with ideas and ways to help her. Had I not stopped her, though, the entire meeting time would have been taken up with her giving me great advice, but not getting any.

Leave some for the guests.

You’re going to have moments in your life when you meet someone who is enormously helpful. It will feel like they are showering you with gold every time that they open their mouth. You will feel like you are eating a tray of deviled eggs (or whatever your favorite food is) and that you will want to just keep eating, but it is really important to find that moment in the conversation where you can make the shift to the other person, especially the givers in your life. Givers will let you eat that whole tray even if they are hungry.

It’s up to you to stop eating.

Leave some for the guests.

A great conversation is one in which everyone benefits from shared information like shared food. As you are out and about at your meetings, gatherings, and events keep this in mind as that shift is really important. When someone leaves a meeting feeling like they both gave and received something that is a meeting that they’ll remember.

Leave some for the guests.

If you do, the guests will be sure to come back for more.