Start a Conversation...You Might Meet Anna Kline with Grits and Soul!

Real Estate Broker/Owner with MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC NC# 218097
We used to tell the kids who worked for us at our camping and backpacking store, Venture Out, to never assume that they could tell who a person was just by looking at them.  We encouraged them to draw people into conversations if the customer was open to that.  As a result they'd find out things like the 80 year old woman standing in front of them had completed the Appalachian Trail in her 60s, or the guy who came in to buy climbing rope also worked for the Peace Corps in Africa in the 70s, or the shy woman in front of them was the NC Poet Laureate. It's usually worth it to get out of your comfort zone and strike up a conversation with people.
Some employees were better than others at this but all of them really learned how to engage strangers in conversation. Our employees learned a lot when they worked with us but I can't help but think this particular skill probably turned out to be one of the most valuable.
Don't get me wrong.  We had a great head start with our employees.  In addition to the standard application for employment, we asked the job seekers to turn the application over and answer the question we'd written on the back.  "What was the last book you read and why did you read it?".  That question told us volumes about the individual and gave us more insight into their potential than calling their references.
I like talking to people I don't know.  There are wonderful things to be learned about people, hidden awesome things that aren't always apparent.  Leslie and I went to the Asheville Mall yesterday.  We aren't really mall people.  The stores all look alike to us, the music is rarely anything we recognize and then there is the whole yucky flu thing.  Forget about our background history of self employed retail for more than 20 years.  When we got out of retail, I wasn't sure I'd ever be able to shop again.  Whoops...digressing, sorry.
Anyway, back to the mall.  In one store, while Leslie was trying on clothes, the young woman Anna Kline and I started talking.  Turns out she just moved here a year ago to further her musical career! She's also very knowledgeable about the stuff we'd come to the mall to purchase and comisserated with us over how frustrating it was to find what we wanted and the cookie cutter fit that most manufacturers give to women's clothing.  She mentioned a couple of websites we might try.  I gave her my card and asked if she'd mind emailing those sites and wished her luck on her music career.
By the time I got home she had already emailed not only the sites but also a link to her own website. Grits and Soul, how cool a name is that?  Turns out she and her band will be appearing at Jack of Hearts in Weaverville on March 31 and then again at the Bywater Bar in Asheville on April 19! So...onto YouTube and I found a couple of videos to share.
It really is worth it more often than not to drag yourself out of your silent comfort zone and strike up a conversation with people!
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Comments (10)

Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Mona, when you're a kid, you don't really think about what your parents are teaching you, usually til you're older. One of the treasures I've taken from my parents is that no one is a stranger. Maybe it was growing up in a small town, or being wonderfully open to diversity, but it has served me well learning that early on.

I think finding something in common with someone bridges the gap as well.

Mar 24, 2013 11:50 PM
Clint Mckie
Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections - Carlsbad, NM
Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586

Hi Mona,

Nice post and very true to the bone. Strike up a conversation with a person and you never know what might come of it.

The last book I read from cover to cover was "The two minute manager". Have you ever read this one?

Have a great day in Dillsboro.

Best, Clint McKie

Mar 25, 2013 12:03 AM
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Pam, Asheville is an awesome center for arts and music.  I'm sure Anna will find success being based there.

Gayle, don't you wonder if it doesn't start with manners?  Saying hello, how are you today, please, thank you, etc sort of forces people to interact in real time.  You'll never find anything in common unless you start the conversation.

Clint, I did read that book a long time ago.  Certainly if you had applied to Venture Out, you'd have been a strong contender for the position.

Mar 25, 2013 01:57 AM
Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

Mona,  You sound so much like me.  I can strike up a conversation with just about anyone.  My husband is always amazed.  He walks away for five minutes and I've learned the life history of a stranger.  Don't you love that?  We all co-exist in this world.  Why not engage everyone (well almost everyone). 

the last book I read was .......  are you ready for it ........ Zen Living for Dummies.  Love it!

Mar 25, 2013 02:47 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Mona,  Funny, My aunt name is Anna Kline, she can not sing.  I am going to have her read your blog.  love Mondays and your song selections.

Mar 25, 2013 05:20 AM
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® 240.593.2860 - Silver Spring, MD
Fluent in German and Real Estate * M.A. ABR ASP

Mona, Grits and Soul - you are right, it sounds way cool! I do admit that I am sometimes a bit more on the shy side when it comes to striking up a conversation with a stranger (not very beneficial when you are a Realtor) but I've been pushing myself more and more .. and, I agree, we can meet the most amazing people when we do and learn a ton!

I got a feeling, we'll be reading a post about a concert soon?

Mar 25, 2013 05:46 AM
Erin Bates
CMG Financial and Expansion Marketing Services - Aurora, CO

Wonderful post and what a nice thing for you to promote her! Sounds like a name that can be written in the stars! 

Mar 25, 2013 09:33 AM
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Hmmmm ... seems like you and Marilyn have been talking, Mona!  She reminds me to "engage" my clients more fairly often.  I have a bad habit of getting right to "business", it seems.  As far as the music goes, I wish we were closer.  We'd be taking in Anna's next performance to be sure.  If you and Leslie come to Chicago (which I hope is soon), we'll have to get you to the Old Town School of Music in Chicago ... I think you'd both enjoy it immensely.  Maybe we'll see Anna performing there in the future??



Mar 25, 2013 12:16 PM
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Belinda, Zen living for Dummies?  I love it.  I wonder if there is a Social Media for Dummies...I could use that.

Will, that's hilarious.

Andrea, it's really nice to see your picture. I'm surprised that you aren't outgoing.  You seem like such a natural in your writings.

Erin, wouldn't that be wonderful.  Even though she's great at her day job, she excels with the music.

Gene, your Marilyn is a wise woman. She reminds me!  You are too nice and personal not to engage your clients first.  Listen to your wife.

Mar 25, 2013 01:37 PM