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Give Me A Break

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I go to a lot of meetings. A lot.

And before I moved to Richmond nearly 20 years ago, I planned meetings. I was the Director of Conferences and Meetings for a DC based association where I scheduled meetings from 20 member board meetings to five-day conferences for over 2,000 people.

I know what I’m talking about when I talk meetings.

And I know that, unlike many “leaders” that the average person can pay attention for about 20 minutes (roughly the time of an average sitcom) before becoming restless.

At about 90 minutes the observant leader will note that attendees aren’t paying attention. They’re fiddling with papers, checking their email, nodding off. But they’re not paying attention to the important things you have to say.

Reality is the average butt and the average bladder were not designed to endure a three hour meeting without a break.

Had the Skipper and Gilligan stopped to let everybody pee the Minnow may not have been lost.

It doesn’t matter how smart you are, how many graduate degrees you may have, how many years of experience you have. If you don’t recognize that people need to get up and stretch, get a glass of water, use the restroom, get some air, then you’re really not an effective leader at all.

It doesn’t matter how important your discussion is or how much material you have to cover.

People. Need. Breaks.

What you’re missing by refusing to call a break is a more effective meeting. Ever hear about people going to bed to sleep on an idea?

Take a break. Walk away and come back. You’ll get more work done and likely produce a better product.

Cross posted at The Write Side of My Brain.

dday

On Saturday, September 21, the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia will participate in National POW/MIA Recognition Day which seeks to support the missing Americans who have never been accounted for from American wars. The day seeks to help families find out whether their loved ones are still missing, still alive or dead. Theare are some 73,000 service personnel still unaccounted for from World War II alone.

Adrian Cronauer

Adrian Cronauer

Featured speaker at the event will be Adrian Cronauer who was an Air Force disc jockey on Armed Forces Radio Saigon. Cronauer returned to work as a broadcaster and later practiced law and was appointed by President George W. Bush as Special Assistant to the Director of the Pentagon’s POW/MIA Office. Cronauer was portrayed by Robin Williams in the movie, “Good Morning, Vietnam!”

Cronauer’s speech, entitled “Accounting for America’s Heroes” will focus on POW/MIA issues.

Read more about the event: National D-Day Memorial Honors POWs/MIAs

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rvafestivals

While summer doesn’t technically end for a few weeks, Labor Day weekend is the traditional end of summer vacation. Pools close. Theme parks close. And the kids go back to school.

But, that doesn’t mean an end to the fun. There are plenty of festivals coming to the River City in September. Check these out.

Fall Line Fest
September 6th and 7th in Downtown Richmond
Fall Line Fest is a two-day celebration of music, art and food.

Harvest Wine Festival
September 7
James River Cellars in Glen Allen
James River Cellars joints with three other wineries to present the 8th Annual Harvest Wine Festival. Enjoy tastings, wine seminars, tours and live music.

RVA Street Art Festival
September 11-15
The former GRTC Bus Depot on Cary Street
Nationally and internationally acclaimed artists will join with RVA’s local talent to create murals on trolley barns, create sculpture and offer arts education, local crafts and food and drink.

Shockoe-on-the-half Shell Festival
September 14
17th Street Farmers Market
If you love oysters, this event is a must. Enjoy oysters and the shops of Schokoe Bottom all in one visit.

43rd Street Festival of the Arts
September 14
1412 W. 43rd Street
Over 70 of RVA’s best and most creative artisans will be onhand to present their creations.

Armenian Food Festival
September 19-22
St. James Armenian Church
Enjoy the 55th Armenian festival for great food, dance and fun.

St. Benedict Oktoberfest
September 20-22
300 N. Sheppard Street
Enjoy German music, dancing, food and beverage(s) of your choice. Proceeds support Catholic education in Saint Benedict Parish.

Capital Ale House Octoberfest
September 21-28
623 E. Main Street
Enjoy Germany style cuisine and plenty of Virginia craft beers.

Virginia State Fair
September 27 – October 6
The tradition of the Virginia State Fair continues at Meadow Event Park in Doswell.

RVACON
September 27-29
Plant Zero Event Space
Check out Richmond’s first convention that showcases anime, comics, gaming, technology and music.

RVA Peace Festival
September 28
St. Stephens Episcopal Church
The RVA Peace Festival began in the aftermath of the attacks of 9/11. The Festival seeks to provide a place for children, youth and adults to gather to celebrate diversity and to promote peace.

Richmond Italian Festival
September 28-29
17th Street Market
Experience an authentic Italian village at Richmond’s 9th Annual Italian Festival.

Festival of India
September 28-29
Greater Richmond Convention Center
Enjoy Indian culture and cuisine.

H/T RVANews

Image via RVA Creates

We stopped by Strange’s Florist in Short Pump to visit in on the 2013 Virginia Orchid Society Show.

Don’t ask me to identify, but here are some of the beautiful flowers we saw.

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Yes, I know.  this is an Hibiscus, not an Orchid.

Yes, I know. this is a Hibiscus, not an Orchid.

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If you missed the show, not to worry. Orchids Galore!: A Love of Living Color is now open at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and runs daily through March 31, 2013.

cellphone

It’s a simple request. You’re in a meeting or church or at a funeral or in the movie theater. Turn your cell phone off or at least have the decency to put it on silent.

If your phone rings audibly in a meeting, you are not mature enough to either own a cell phone or be in that meeting.

Everyone has emergencies and reasons they need to remain available. Ever phone also has the option to vibrate on silent.

Here are some basics of cell phone etiquette in meetings.

1. Turn the phone off or put it on silent and vibrate only. I recently sat through a meeting where the meeting host’s cell phone rang multiple times throughout the day. It was not on silent.

2. If you absolutely have to take a call take it outside the room.

3. Don’t listen to voice mails when seated in the meeting. If you absolutely have to hear the message, get up and leave the room.

4. Don’t read your email or texts during a meeting.

5. Likewise, don’t respond to email or texts during a meeting.

It’s a little sad, really, that we have to think about these things. There was a time when this would have been second nature. But techology has made us all important and made everything urgent.

Still, that’s no excuse for not being polite.

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Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has awarded the 2013 Virginia Wineries Association’s Governor’s Cup to Barboursville Vineyards’ 2009 Octagon 12th Edition.

A press release included McDonnell’s remarks at the Governor’s Cup awards. McDonnell said “As Virginia’s wine industry grows in standing and collect accolades from around the world, it means more tourism and more jobs here in the Commonwealth. Shining the light on Virginia’s wineries is another way we can promote this homegrown industry that creates jobs for Virginians. I congratulate Luca Paschina, the Zonin family, and the entire Barboursville team for winning this year’s Governor’s Cup for their 2009 Octagon, one of Virginia’s most iconic red wines. Luca’s Octagon wines are personal favorites of mine, and I know this award winning 12th Edition will make the Virginia wine industry proud now and in the years to come. I also commend the winemakers of the other distinguished wines that comprise this year’s Governor’s Cup Case. I am confident that wine aficionados and enthusiasts alike will take notice of Octagon and the other impressive offerings in this case. The advancements in Virginia winemaking are on display in every bottle we have here tonight and the stringent requirements of the Governor’s Cup competition ensure that Virginia wines receiving medals have been through the most demanding evaluation process.”

Read the full press release.

Located in Virginia’s Piedmont region, Barboursville Vineyards is built on the grounds of Barboursville, the home of James Barbour, the 19th Governor of barboursville2the Commonwealth of Virginia. The 870 acre estate is divided between Albemarle and Orange Counties. Based on a design by Thomas Jefferson, the home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Octagon is Barboursville Vineyards’ flagship wine, it is a Bordeaux-style blend, mainly based on Merlot, with parts Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

This drawing by L. Hollis was engraved by J.C. Buttre and depicts Lincoln’s visit to Richmond.

This drawing by L. Hollis was engraved by J.C. Buttre and depicts Lincoln’s visit to Richmond.

It was two days after Confederate forces evacuated the City of Richmond. On April 4, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln and son Tad visited the City. Former slaves greeted them enthusiastically.

Admiral David D. Porter landed with Lincoln and said, “No electric wire could have carried the news of the President’s arrival sooner than it was circulated through Richmond. As far as the eye could see the streets were alive with negroes and poor whites rushing in our direction, and the crowds increased so fast that I had to surround the President with the sailors with fixed bayonets to keep them off…They all wanted to shake hand with Mr. Lincoln or his coat tail or even to kneel down and kiss his boots.!”

Crowds made Lincoln’s short journey to the U.S. military headquarters, the former Confederate White House nearly impossible. There he found a delegation of Southerner seeking to have a discussion with him about ending the war in a swift and peaceful manner.

Lincoln left Richmond the next day never to return. Four days later General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse. Less than a week later, Lincoln was assassinated. Events at the end of the war and Lincoln’s death drew attention away from the visit.

In April, 2003 the National Park Service rekindled that interest when they unveiled a statue Lincoln and his son Tad depicting the 1865 visit. The sculpture by Louis Frech resides at the Historic Tredegar Iron Works. The words “To Bind up the Nation’s Wounds” from Lincoln’s second inaugural address are displayed behind the sculpture.

Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809. He died on April 15, 1865.

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