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ON THE MOVE RASMITH WELCOMES SAMANTHA CARLSON AS LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT & PROJECT MANAGER Samantha Carlson has joined raSmith as a landscape architect and project manager to support the Site Design Group at the Milwaukee Site Studio. Carlson has nearly 10 years of landscape architecture experience including site planning, project management, and landscape plans for residential, institutional, and commercial developments. “Samantha brings exceptional design and leadership skills to complement the Site Design Group,” said Tom Mortensen, raSmith site planner, landscape architect, and senior project manager. “Her contributions will be important as we take on new projects in various market sectors and expand our client base. She has a solid background in design and understands the

dynamics of a wide variety of project types.” Carlson teaches a landscape design course at Milwaukee Area Technical College and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. She holds a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and studied geography at Augustana College in Illinois. raSmith is a multi-disciplinary engineering consultant established in the city of Brookfield, Wisconsin, in 1978. Its services are focused on public and private sector client needs in planning, design and construction including site planning and design, structural engineering, municipal engineering, transportation and traffic, surveying, development management, ecology, landscape architecture, LiDAR, UAS, construction services and GIS.

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JOHN BRAY, from page 1

take five minutes to be human. Make small talk that is not about the weather (this is the default topic of meaningless chit-chat; the goal is for your conversation to be meaningful). If you completed the task outlined in my first point, this will be easier. Hear a dog in the background? Ask what the dog’s name is. Where are they taking the call from? Where are they from originally? What do they do on weekends? What sports teams do they follow? You might be surprised how much you have in common with them. 3)Motion creates emotion. If you are about to fall asleep on the phone (or sound like you are), the other person will not only be able to tell, but they will likely match your same energy as well. Stand up and walk around the room. If you’re on Zoom or Teams, make eye contact. Talk with your hands. Write your notes on a big white board instead of your notebook. Project your voice (if you aren’t disturbing others around you). Go into the conference room instead of taking the call at your desk so you can move around. Motion creates emotion, and making a lasting impression on someone requires that you make some kind of an emotional connection. 4)Repeat their name throughout the call. Everyone loves the sound of their own name. Not only do people love hearing their name, but repeating it on your call will help you commit it to memory at the same time. It also proves to them that your call together is not some boiler-plate elevator spiel, and that it is important to you that you are speaking with them specifically. You don’t need to say it so much that you sound like Apple’s Siri, but saying a person’s name several times throughout your conversation will make a big difference to just about every person you talk to. 5)Smile, and don’t be afraid to laugh. When you smile, your brain releases tiny molecules called neuropeptides to help fight off stress. Even forcing a fake smile can legitimately reduce stress and lower heart rate. As I mentioned above, the person you are speaking to will almost certainly match your energy level while on a call, it happens to some extent on essentially every phone call as a natural part of human empathy. Simply smiling and having a positive attitude on a call will be infectious and even change the behavior of the person you’re talking to as well, which will lead to a more enjoyable (and more memorable) conversation for both of you. 6)Schedule a follow-up. Send them an interesting article after you talk that pertains to the conversation you just had. Ask them if they want to grab coffee or happy hour in a few months. It doesn’t have to be right now; leave it open-ended. Even if they live in another city – people travel. This gives you a reason to follow-up later, and also shows that you enjoyed the call and would like to continue building a relationship with them. It doesn’t even have to be in-person. Just ask them if it’s OK to check in in a few months and put a reminder on your calendar. This small gesture will often be the difference between one nice call and actually making a meaningful connection with someone that lasts over time. JOHN BRAY, CM&AA is an advisor with Zweig Group’s M&A and executive search teams. Contact him at

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