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Acknowledgement is the First Connection

As we sit down to lunch and the waiter politely hands out the menus, my friend Juliana Kelly says,

“My name is Juliana. What is your name?”

“Jodie”, she replies.

For the duration of the lunch Juliana made a point of addressing Jodie by name.

This was new. Or was it forgotten. Asking someone’s name. I was curious.

“Hey Juliana, why do you do the formal introduction?”

“It is not formal. It is polite. I don’t want to have an interaction with a stranger. I exchange names and by doing this we acknowledge each other and from here the connection can only get deeper. Life is easier working with the known than the unknown.”

Acknowledgement is the first connection.

There is an informal membership of ocean swimmers in Perth who swim all year around. Never miss a swim. The numbers fluctuate depending on the season. More in summer than winter. The group is known as “The Pod Squad” Shane McGurk is the founding member and now there are hundreds of Pod Squaders.

Shane said it is more than swimming, it is belonging and connection. Starting with an acknowledgement ritual. (My title for the activity.)

For every new member the group creates a circle of feet facing inwards making an inner perimeter with the new members in the centre. With a chant in unison of kicking feet, the member is welcomed to the group. No payment. No duties. No expectations. Just acknowledgement.

Shane says members take it upon themselves to enhance the experience of the group with people volunteering to create bathers, organise trips, and create social outings. No committee. No structure.

Just acknowledgement leading to connection.

We have lost the art of acknowledging others. A simple greeting to the store owner, the person behind the counter, the service station person.

How does it make you feel to be acknowledged?

Leaders and team members, this is the first stage of connection. Making people feel good by the greeting, asking and acknowledging goes a long way to creating a productive space.

Are you an acknowledger like Juliana and Shane?

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