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A quick peek at my in-car temperature gauge told me it was 81 degrees today when I passed someone on the sidewalk that was wearing a pretty substantial coat for warmth. He looked cold. All I could think was, if he is chilly in 81 degree North Dakota, then I don’t even what to know what he thinks is hot, and I certainly hope to never experience it.
In the end, it got me thinking about North Dakota’s summer image and the fact that we practically don’t have one. The Ambassadors program sees many messages in reference to North Dakota and its “cold” weather as we monitor social networks like Twitter and Facebook. If they were your only source of information, you’d think North Dakota had snow year round, never had a citizen who surfed, and really did measure our seasons as nine months of winter and three months of road construction. Enough of the mistruths already!
During this the first week of summer, I’m challenging all our Ambassadors to start walking the “hot” talk. We spend a tremendous amount of energy promoting North Dakota’s winters, but face it people, it is only because we are so busy enjoying the summer, we forget to actually tell people about it. So let’s make 2010 the year North Dakota earns its reputation as a place for summer fun!
Here’s five quick and easy things you can to do to help build North Dakota’s “hot” image:
- Get out and have summer fun in North Dakota. Then, actually tell people how much fun you had. If you are hurting for ideas, visit www.ndtourism.com.
- Take pictures of you and/or your family in actual summer clothing – tank tops, flip flops, shorts - doing something at a North Dakota destination. Share and post wildly – especially on the Ambassadors Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ndambassador.
- Wait for an amazing North Dakota summer day, you know them – golden sun, a spattering of shade making clouds and a light breeze. Go to the Weather Channel and find someplace that is colder than North Dakota. Call a relative, friend or complete stranger in that location. Ask them how the weather is and then gloat about how the weather here in North Dakota is better.
- OR find a place hotter than North Dakota in the same manner described in point 3. Send a picture of yourself looking cool, calm and comfortable to a friend, relative or complete stranger someplace hot, sweaty and humid. See, contrast is a good thing.
- If you work in a career that puts you in contact with travelers and people visiting the state, talk up our summer not just the winter. It gets cold here, we own that, but it’s time to own our heat too. Tell people about 90+ degree days, the fun you’ve had at area lakes, the many evenings you’ve sat enjoying a campfire roasting marshmallows, or simply the quiet beauty of a summer sunset on the plains. They are uniquely North Dakota too.
Strangely, we’ve become so connected digitally with social media, cell phones and email that we are certainly loosing a little of our personal touch. Let’s face it, one-to-one communication isn’t what it used to be. Text messages now interrupt conversations, cell phones ring with the authority of something that demands immediate attention, and timeliness is based on whether or not you’ve responded to all the messages on your Blackberry.
Sometimes it is really good to be reminding how to be attentive, especially in the case of one-to-one communications. A blogger I follow by the name of Nate Riggs, had a great post this week on how to have better one-to-one meetings. In 35 simple steps, Nate reminds us how to be good humans. And as North Dakota Ambassadors, I hope that is something we can all aspire to be.
I’ll share a few of my favorites below, but then go and check out the entire list at NateRiggs.com. You’ll be glad you did!
- Try to be on time. You’re not always going to succeed. Life happens. But try as hard as you can.
- If the other person is late, be gracious. You never know if they or their loved one has been in a traffic accident.
- If someone offers to buy your coffee, graciously accept their gift with a “Thank you”
- Practice good nonverbal communication. Make eye contact often. Nod. Smile. Look surprised. Emote. Show your attention visibly.
- Wait for their periods. Let the other person finish their complete thought. Pause to consider for a second, then respond.
- Don’t be afraid to laugh. Sharing laughter creates a different level of connection.
Lending Tree recently took notice of North Dakota saying “North Dakota may not have the sunny beaches of Florida or California, but the state outshines all others in some recent housing and economic rankings reports.” A couple of stats they notice included:
- The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) found North Dakota to be the state with the lowest numbers of loan delinquencies.
- A report by LendingTree’s Chief Economist Cameron Findlay found North Dakota ranked #1 in terms of the best housing and loan conditions.
- A study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Chamber Foundation identified North Dakota to be the nation’s top overall economic growth performer over the past decade.
Not only did they notice our good economic climate, they also noticed New Salem Sue too. Check out “North Dakota outshines other states in recent housing and economic reports” at the Lending Tree blog.