Power Table: The value of relationships and small groups

Lynne Meredith Golodner is a Read The Spirit author; her new book is The Flavors of Faith: Holy Breads. She also is a contributing columnist and, in her professional life, she runs Your:People, an innovative marketing firm that specializes in building strong community relationships. Read The Spirit Books publishes a number of business-related titles.

We invited Lynne to share a column she wrote after her recent launch of a new kind of program through Your:People, something she calls the Power Table. Religious and community leaders immediately will recognize the Power Table as a kind of “small group.” Millions of small groups meet weekly coast to coast, most of them related to congregations, and many also meeting in libraries, homes, restaurants and coffee shops. This column by Lynne illustrates the value of small groups.

The Power of Relationships

By Lynne Meredith Golodner

I couldn’t sleep at all last night. I may have drifted off after 1:30, knowing I would wake at 5 and start a glorious day with cool air sifting through the window screens and the blue dawn before me like a kiss.

Why couldn’t I sleep? I was so revved up from an amazing night of 10 entrepreneurs around a rectangular glass table at Cafe Via in Birmingham, Michigan for the Power Table.

This is a new program I’m offering through my public relations firm, Your:People, which emanated from a desire and a skill I’ve always had, which is, to bring people together around a table and watch the connections grow.

It’s funny how we tie into the core of who we are, cast it aside, then finally get back to what we’ve wanted all along. Years ago, I convened brunches and dinners of usually 10 people at a time, mostly friends, sometimes colleagues or individuals I wanted to get to know better. Always, there was my own selfish desire to connect with these people in an intimate setting.

And always, I’d watch the relationships flourish around the table, opportunities opening up in ways none of us could have imagined.

Back then, I planned these gatherings at my home, made the food myself, hired a waitress to do the serving and clean-up. Now, it’s off-site in an elegant setting with someone else’s kitchen running full-steam.

When I was evolving from full-time journalist to entrepreneur, I wanted to take the core of the idea and turn it into a business. It took years to germinate and grow into something that was perfect.

I planned the Power Table to be a three-hour intensive – dinner, drinks, each person talking for 10 minutes about their business, their dreams, their challenges, and finally, a powerful public relations lesson with take-home tips for immediate implementation.

We were there for four hours and I bet we could’ve stayed all night. We only scratched the surface of each brilliant person around that table. I got out maybe one-sixth of the material I had planned to teach.

No matter. Everyone loved it. I, at least, left as if I floated on a cloud and all night, I replayed tidbits of conversation, the beaming smiles, the hugs and handshakes, the way that after one dinner, everyone seemed to be friends and care about one another’s business.

The power of connection. The power of conversation. The power of people looking one another in the eye, clinking wine glasses, listening intently.

Professional is all personal, no question about it. You may think you have a church-state separation between your work and your life, but chances are you’re wrong.

What we do every day – and hopefully we love it in some major way – shapes how we move through life. Often, it is intimately intertwined with who we are, an essential part of the definition of Self.

Last night, everyone around my table had passion behind the work they do. They lit up when talking about.

That’s what I mean.

When your heart is in it, you soar. And when you listen well to another living, breathing person, you are elevated as much as you elevate them.

The power of the table is infinite. It’s what we do with it that makes all the difference.

Care to Learn More about Lynne’s Program?

Lynne Meredith Golodner is based in southeast Michigan and Read The Spirit’s readership is scattered around planet Earth. But—if you’re interested in learning more about her development of this program—please visit this page within her website that explains upcoming Power Table events.

WHAT’S YOUR STORY? Lynne also uses storytelling as a crucial skill for business and community development. In an earlier column, she describes her work with storytelling.