Community Perspectives: Tired of negative talk? Making changes to our cultural climate

Home|Opinion|Local Columnists|Community Perspectives: Tired of negative talk? Making changes to our cultural climate

I’ve recently been accused of spewing ‘happy talk’ at a Chamber Luncheon and the Chamber was called ‘schmoozy’ in a comment related to a Chamber Coffee event this past week at the Big Horn Smokehouse. You know those times in life when you don’t know how to respond? This was one of them for me.

My happy talk comment has been percolating for a while now because I’ve been trying to decipher how I feel about the accusation. Well, I’m done percolating, and I’ve decided how I feel.

I’m a pretty happy guy. I tend to be optimistic; I don’t just see problems but seek solutions, and I’m one of those people that gives others the benefit of the doubt. I know this may seem idyllic, but I also think it is possible for good things to happen in this world when people work together and shed their pride. When communities thrive as a whole, we all benefit. I prefer this attitude to the opposite perspective in life: always being skeptical, focusing on problems, and doing things that only benefit oneself. So, yes, I guess I spew ‘happy talk.’

And as far as the Chamber being called schmoozy, I like schmoozy. Schmoozing is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “to chat in a friendly and persuasive manner especially so as to gain favor, business, or connections.” I especially like the ‘friendly’ description. Plus, friendly networking (gaining business connections) is one of our goals at the Chamber, and it works amazingly well for a lot of our members. So yes, we are schmoozy, I am happy, and I think we could use a little more of that right now in our cultural climate. I know we’re getting used to the divisive and crass talk that is commonplace in our society, but even if we are getting used to it, we don’t have to like it. Nor do we have to stoop. There will be no stooping here at the Chamber. We schmooze, we don’t stoop.

We like to work together here at the Chamber, believing collaboration between communities, organizations, and businesses brings greater success than any single entity could accomplish alone. We encourage collaboration and communication with our Chamber Coffees, opening up community discussion throughout the County (because we are the Sheridan County Chamber) and we want to work together and serve everyone the best we can. Call us schmoozy, call us what you want, but we want to work together.

We are part of boards, task forces, and other initiatives working with the City, County, and other economic development groups that focus on enhancing the community. We spend countless hours serving in ways that we believe will increase business and economic vitality for the whole county. Call us schmoozy, but we think focusing on these efforts is the most important way to have a thriving community.

We host Business After Hours and Chamber Luncheons because we see value when people connect with other people and businesses. However, I often see friendly chatting where personal and business connections are made. It happens a lot, so if that’s not something you’re looking for, it’s probably not the place for you.

Ever get tired of negativity? Stop in my office at the Chamber and I’ll make you a cup of coffee and we can do happy talk as long as you’d like. Who knows, we might even end up schmoozing.


Ryan Koltiska is the director of marketing and communications at the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce.

By |February 25th, 2017|

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