My husband and I are on vacation this week, making our way through Disney World. Yes, just the two of us. You might be wondering why I’m working during vacation, but sometimes inspiration is found in very interesting places and needs to be committed to memory.
Disney has perfected the art of recognizing guests who are celebrating. It happens to be my birthday this week, so they gave me a Happy Birthday Nancy button to wear around the parks. If you know me, you know I have chosen to wear it from the moment we arrived until the moment we leave. I enjoy celebrations.
Every time a “Cast Member” sees my button, they exclaim, with enthusiasm I might add, “Happy Birthday Nancy!” As you can imagine, this evokes a smile and a “thank you” from me because they made me feel good. You see, I deeply appreciate kindness and warmth. There are thousands of people walking around with buttons of all types, whether they are to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, 1st visits, newlyweds, those recently engaged, or just celebrating life.
Regardless of the number of people wearing them, the Disney way is to make each one of us feel as though we are the only one wearing that button at that moment. Whether the Cast Member is dancing in a parade, cleaning the street, taking pictures, working security, or any of a thousand different tasks they are being paid to perform, they stop and take the time to greet me, to make me feel important and welcome. They even go so far as to yell out from their place behind the counter 10 feet away to say, “Happy Birthday Nancy!” I don’t know how they can read my name from so far away, but it keeps happening!
It’s also contagious. Whenever John sees someone with one of these buttons, he wishes them a happy birthday or anniversary. Yes, kindness is contagious.
We can learn from this practice of Disney’s. What if we practiced a version of this with each of our clients, potential clients and other human beings? We, too, have the distinct advantage of being able to recognize everyone by the “button” they are wearing, thus alerting us to the opportunity to treat them with a welcoming smile and a hello whenever we see them. We have the ability to make them feel good by greeting them as though they were the only person in the room, the only person on the street or the only person we care about at that moment, which is exactly how we should view those with whom we interact. Even if we are in the midst of “working a room,” trying to make our way to a meeting, standing in line to get an iced tea or trying to finish an important piece of work for the next day, we are also able to stop and make these people feel important.
What is this button, this clue, they are wearing that will help us know when to greet them? Well, it’s much more obvious than the one Disney gave me to wear…sorry Disney. It happens to be the button that says they are a human being, and deserve this type of warm treatment and hello from us at all times. They don’t need a button to tell us this. They are simply human beings in our path, and that is our clue that we have the opportunity to make them feel good about coming in to contact with us.
Take the time. Let people know they are important. Help them feel welcomed in to your world, whether that be in person, in writing, in Social Media you use, from a podium, the way you open your videos, your audio, your articles or the smile you use in your photographs.
Pick up your head when walking down the street. Pavement is not that interesting. Acknowledge other human beings with a warm smile. You’ll be amazed at your ability to turn a grimace on another human being’s face in to a smile, even if it’s only a small one.
Someone might not be having a good day, and could use that smile and hello. Someone might be trying to decide which firm to use, but none stands out in his/her mind. Stand out. Better yet…help them stand out by greeting them and helping them feel important, because they are…they’re a human being.
After all, isn’t that our job every day, to help our clients stand out, and to feel comfortable if at all possible? When we are given such simple ways to make life easier for those we serve, shouldn’t we take advantage of them?