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Column: The power of yes

ESCANABA — This past week, I attended the International Association of Fairs and Exhibitions Convention in Indiana where 2,222 of us in the fair business gathered to “borrow” ideas, network, share success stories, and learn from each other how to create the best possible fair experience. As with most conventions, there were general sessions with keynote speakers, award presentations, tradeshows, networking opportunities, and valuable workshops.

One of the many workshops I attended was presented by Micheline (Mickie) Tomich, president/creative director of Mixdesign Inc., a full-service branding agency located in Indiana. The title of her session was, “Yes, AND…” She talked about how empowering saying, “Yes, AND…” is versus a “No, BUT…” initial response when presenting and discussing new and interesting ideas.

This workshop made me appreciate the very creative, positive attitudes of the Commerce Center team. Rather than initially pointing out the flaws of an idea to improve our waterfront community, our group discussions instinctively start by acknowledging the positive aspects and building upon it until it almost magically becomes bigger and better than expected.

Some of the impactful events and successful programs that started with positive “Yes, AND…” discussions include the creation of the Delta County Economic Development Alliance, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Delta Force Leadership Program, and the management of the Upper Peninsula State Fair.

Mickie encouraged all of us to train ourselves to use “Yes, AND…” as our first response to acknowledge an idea and then build on it. She further suggested that one way to do that was to harness the enthusiasm and creativity of our inner child. As a daily reminder to move forward enthusiastically and creatively with great ideas, the walls of the Mixdesign offices have framed childhood pictures of their team members.

I absolutely agree with Mickie that youthful enthusiasm and a “Yes, AND…” initial response to a new idea is one of the best ways to foster creativity and a positive team environment. And, YES, maybe the next time you visit the Commerce Center, you’ll see framed childhood pictures of those whose articles you have been reading in this section of the weekend editions of the Daily Press.

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Vickie Micheau is executive director of the Delta County Area Chamber of Commerce.

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