• Home
  • Spicer Facilitation & Learning

Is the handshake dead?

June 1, 2021

With restrictions easing and people gathering, I am wondering, “Is the handshake dead?” Navigating pandemic etiquette is ever-changing.

Shaking Hands

I have been taught that shaking hands with someone when you meet them is a sign of respect. Many years ago, a previous employer brought in a professional to take me and my colleagues through business etiquette. We were all seated in a room in a horseshoe layout. The facilitator came up to each of us to shake our hands. I was so nervous! Would my handshake be firm enough? Were my hands clammy?

I automatically stood up when she got to me and stuck out my hand and hoped for the best. After she went around the room, she pointed out that I was the only person to stand when greeting her. Everyone else remained seated while she stood shaking their hands. Turns out my instincts were correct! She taught us to shake hands by connecting firmly but not too much pressure, shake 1-2, then release by gently pulling back our hand keeping it at a level height.

Pitches and Pints Competition June 2019 Pre-COVID days!

Over the past 16 months, I have not shaken hands with anyone outside of my bubble. I am craving hugs. I long for the comfort felt when connecting by touch with another person. Obviously, the handshake is not coming back very quickly. As we move to higher levels of vaccination, and restrictions are easing, the way we greet people will continue to evolve.

Vaccine Etiquette

Speaking of vaccinations, how do you handle the question of “Are you vaccinated?” Do you have the right to ask someone that? Do you have to disclose if you are, or are not, vaccinated? CBC published an article last month on how to navigate this tricky situation. Until the majority of people are vaccinated, it might make someone uncomfortable if you ask them if they have received their shot, especially if they are in a higher priority group due to medical health conditions, or other circumstances. They might feel you are judging them or questioning how they received their shot before you. We must trust that people are following the guidelines on the honour system and not circumventing the process. As gathering sizes increase, it is natural to wonder if people in attendance are vaccinated. You may find your host asking you that question.

Is the handshake dead? Maybe, maybe not. Be sure to watch the video in the CBC article on this topic. Later this month I have a business trip and I am looking forward to facilitating an in-person event, following all health guidelines. I will be respectful of others and their comfort level. I have my first vaccine and will disclose that if asked. If the other person is showing signs of discomfort connecting with a handshake, I will not offer my hand. While it is tricky navigating etiquette in a pandemic, the basics stay the same. Be kind. Show respect. Be genuine in your connections. ~ Carole

My Agriculture Gigs

May 18, 2021

My agriculture gigs tour of Newfoundland and Labrador started off four summers ago. My very first independent consultant project was with the NL Federation of Agriculture (NLFA). I was hired to facilitate public engagement sessions on their Agri-Risk project. It was my first foray into the world of agriculture in this province. Today I completed my 11th project with my 4th organization in the industry!

Public Engagement and Stakeholder Meetings

As mentioned, my first agriculture project was touring the province talking to farmers about risks to the industry. I facilitated 10 sessions with a diverse group of farmers, academics, government employees, and supporters of agriculture.

Consequently, after the initial round of engagement, a follow-up meeting was held in St. John’s to discuss distribution challenges with farmers, grocers, and logistics organizations on behalf of NLFA. Additionally, they hired me to facilitate discussions with cranberry producers and beekeepers in Gander.

As a result of the Gander session, the Newfoundland and Labrador Beekeeping Association (NLBKA) hired me to facilitate stakeholder engagement sessions to discuss the Varroa Mite and their proposed Action Plan to government to continue to protect our bees in this province. Sessions were held in St. John’s and Deer Lake.

This past year, I worked with the climate change coordinator of NLFA to facilitate virtual stakeholder engagement sessions to discuss both negative and positive impacts climate change is having on the industry.

Strategic Planning

Image of agriculture strategic plan
Draft Strategic Plan for SPANL

I have facilitated strategic planning sessions with 4 organizations in the agriculture industry! First up was the aforementioned NLBKA with a session in Corner Brook. Next was Agriculture in the Classroom – NL with a session in Gander. That was the last in-person session prior to March 2020. Virtually, I facilitated 12 stakeholder engagement sessions for the development of the NLFA’s strategic plan. Lastly, just today I sent off the draft plan for the Sheep Producers Association of Newfoundland and Labrador. Once again, virtual was the way to go.

Just for fun!

Being the Emcee of the Agriculture Expo held in Corner Brook is one of my agriculture gigs that makes me smile the most. NLFA hired me twice to basically talk all weekend long on a microphone! I also introduced the dignitaries at the opening ceremony.

Carole interviewing a exhibitor at the AgExpo
On the microphone at Ag Expo – Corner Brook

Who’s Next?

I have met some incredible people working with agriculture organizations since starting my business. Certainly, I consider many of them friends. They are passionate about making a difference in our province. As a result, we are in a better place in our economy, and food security. I love my agriculture gigs! I wonder which organization will hire me next? ~ Carole

How available funding helped my clients

May 10, 2021

Are you aware of what available funding is out there to hire a facilitator for your organization or take part in professional development workshops? Read on to see how easily you can hire me!

Canada – Newfoundland and Labrador Job Grant (CNLJG)

CNLJG provides funding to eligible businesses and organizations to help offset the cost of training for their existing and future employees. This funding program is administered by the Department of Immigration, Population Growth and Skills at the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Funding is available to:

  • A private sector employer, not-for-profit organization, industry association, employer consortia, unions, or an Indigenous government or organization
  • Incorporated or a sole proprietor

Canadian Agriculture Partnership (CAP)

CAP provides financial support for producers, for-profit, and not-for-profit organizations in the agriculture industry. This funding program is administered by the Department of Fisheries, Forest and Agriculture at the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Under Business Development, eligible activities include:

  • Business Planning
  • Succession Planning
  • Strategic Plans: Planning and development of industry or sector strategies; studies and industry analysis

Community Capacity Building (CCB)

CCB provides financial support to not-for-profit economic development organizations including regional economic development associations, municipalities, industry/sector groups, educational institutions, and any other community-based organizations involved in economic development.  This funding program is administered by the Department of Industry, Energy and Technology at the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Support is provided in a non-repayable contribution. Eligible activities include:

  • Strategy and Planning
    • Strategic Planning
    • Proposal Writing
    • Project Management
    • Opportunity Identification
    • Opportunity Management
  • Relationship Building
    • Public Participation
    • Conflict Management
    • Group Dynamics
  • Organizational Skills and Management
    • Organizational Governance
    • Board Orientation
    • Meeting Management
    • Leadership and Motivation
    • Interpersonal Communications
    • Communications Planning
    • Risk Management
    • Financial Management

Consultant Advisory Services (CAS)

CAS provides financial support to avail of Consultant Advisory Services to small and medium-sized businesses and not-for-profit organizations in Atlantic Canada. Funding is offered by ACOA with CBDCs handling the administration and counselling involved. Eligible activities include:

  • Diagnostic assessments
  • Business Management Development Practices
  • Access to Capital
  • Market Readiness/Export Potential
  • Specific Studies/Business Plan Mentoring
  • Business Coaching
  • Business Valuation
  • Aftercare/Mentoring and Follow-Up

Industry Organizations and Agencies

Other organizations often provide funding to their clients for various initiatives. These include, but are not limited to:

My Clients

Several of my clients (see below) have availed of one or more of these programs to subsidize the cost of hiring me as a professional facilitator, or to subsidize training costs to attend one of my workshops. I personally have used the Canada-NL Job Grant funding program to access some professional development for myself. If you are interested in attending one of my workshops visit the Calendar of Events to see what is upcoming. To discuss your facilitation needs, drop me an email or give me a call. ~ Carole

Saying Goodbye to Lacey

May 7, 2021

A week ago I was saying goodbye to Lacey. It was not something I had even imagined would happen that day.

Carole holding Lacey in her arms.
Our beautiful Lacey

Lacey had been showing some signs of difficulty breathing for a few days leading up to Friday. My husband and I felt it was best to get her checked out before the weekend. We made an appointment with our vet and off we went. The minute the vet saw Lacey, her face told us it all. I was not prepared. I fell apart. X-rays showed fluid in Lacey’s chest and lungs. So much so, that we couldn’t even see the outline of her heart.

We adopted Lacey from the NL West SPCA in Corner Brook in 2011, one year after adopting her brother Velcro. She was always our “kitten”. Small and fluffy, she was smaller than him. They would generally ignore one another, breaking up the monotony by chasing each other around the house. Every so often, they would curl up peacefully beside one another, quite content with each other’s company.

Velcro and Lacey sleeping on a bed
Velcro and Lacey hanging out in my office

I was allergic to Lacey. She would bite papers on my desk. When I closed my door because I was facilitating a session, she would cry incessantly to get in. She would climb up on my desk, using my leg as a step ladder, multiple times a day, always laying between my arms and my keyboard so that I would have to stop working to pet her. I miss her terribly. She was also so sweet. Her meow was gentle. She was inquisitive. She didn’t drink directly from her bowl of water. Instead she dipped her paw in to the bowl and then licked the water off. She brought so much joy and comfort in to our home in the short 9 years she was with us. The house is quieter without her. Velcro is still crying for her in different rooms of the house. Saying goodbye to Lacey last week was heartbreaking. I am so blessed to have had her in my life. ~ Carole

But Mom, you don’t drink coffee!

May 1, 2021

When my children find out I am headed to a coffee shop, they often wonder why and say, “But Mom, you don’t drink coffee!” I used to drink coffee. A lot. Can I make a confession? I quit drinking coffee in 1989 when I quit smoking. The association between the two vices was too strong. Back then, you could smoke indoors. Almost every night after supper, I would join a group of friends at a coffee shop. We would drink coffee and smoke for hours! We were young enough, and naïve enough to think we could solve all the problems of the world in those few social hours. How I slept so well every night hyped up on tobacco and caffeine is a mystery. On weekends, we shifted to a local bar where smokes and alcohol were the vices. I quit drinking too, when I quit smoking. That’s another story…

I did not realize it at the time but looking back I see it so clearly. There is power in connecting with others. The social benefits are immeasurable. The opportunities to learn about one another, accept our differing viewpoints, disagree in a safe environment, and genuinely connect as individuals is so rewarding. As an entrepreneur, networking is crucial to the success of my business. I rely on word-of-mouth and referrals to gain new clients. Therefore, if I want people to recommend me and my services, they need to get to know me or experience one of my events.

Networking

In April, networking for me included:

  • Facilitating two virtual events
  • Attending three virtual events
  • Attending two in-person events
  • Being a guest speaker at a virtual event
  • Connecting with individuals or a small group three times
Entrepreneur Coffee Break – April 15, 2021

Networking is not just about others getting to know me. It is also about connecting others. If someone says to me, “You should talk to…” I immediately ask for an email introduction. I love returning the favour and making introductions for people to others in my network. Last month, I sent off 24 email introductions and received three emails connecting me to new contacts. Two people recommended me to a new client. As a result, two proposals have been sent for consideration. Connections work!

“But Mom, you don’t drink coffee!” is usually followed by, “What do you drink?” My answer? Milk, hot chocolate, or my new vice, Coca-Cola. I guess I feed my addiction with cold caffeine now. 😉 This month I currently have three networking events scheduled. My monthly virtual entrepreneur coffee break is scheduled for May 19th. Register today! If you are interested in connecting, there is still room on my calendar to go for coffee. Send me an invite. I would love to connect. Who knows? Maybe we can solve the problems of the world. ~ Carole

Upcoming Events