Woody Allen said that, “Showing up is 80 percent of life.” College presidents face intense demands on their time and attention and it can be tempting to skip events or send someone in your stead. Every constituency wants you to be physically in the room on important occasions; they don't want your surrogate. What you actually do when you get there—offer a toast, introduce a speaker, tell a quick story to kick off an event—may be less important than your physical presence. Showing up is not just a perfunctory exercise, but accomplishes three things.
Shows Investment. Your participation sends a powerful message that you value these people and programs and are committed to working for their success.
Strengthens Connections. Events provide opportunities to rub shoulders with individuals you may not interact with regularly. Be intentional about connecting with key players and open to interacting with individuals you didn’t anticipate. Sometimes the best conversations you have are the ones you least expect.
Sharpens Insight. Through visiting departments or donors, you broaden your understanding about the state of your institution. Real-time opportunities to check your assumptions will enhance your decision-making.
Be careful not to void your attendance by being physically there, yet constantly distracted. Be fully present and engaged: the phone call can wait and your email will be there when this is done.