His smile was as wide as the doorway I'd just walked through as I arrived at a major corporate headquarters. As I approached the concierge desk he made perfect eye contact and his grin broadened. "Welcome!" he invited.
I was taken aback. I've walked into many office blocks early in the day to set up for a workshop. Those behind the concierge desk are usually well-meaning folk but they're busy and distracted and give a cursory greeting.
This guy was on a mission to make me feel at home - and it absolutely worked.
That glowing welcome had a profound impact on my day. I immediately felt positive about the session I was about to run. I didn’t realise it then, but for the next hours I channelled that man in all my interactions.
That afternoon as I checked into my hotel, I felt myself consciously making friendly eye contact with the young women at the counter. I smiled and asked how her day was. She was momentarily confused, then she returned my smile and we had an animated conversation.
When I asked for the Wi-Fi password she looked embarrassed, then said “Oh, we normally don’t have free Wi-Fi but I’ll tell you what, I’m going to give you free Wi-Fi for your whole stay”.
It continued the next day when I left the hotel and checked in for my next flight. I knew my bag - full of training material - was way heavier than the airline's baggage limit. Again channelling my concierge friend, I strode to the counter, looked the woman directly in the eye with a smile and opened with, “I’m so sorry but I think my bag might be over the limit”.
She beamed back and said, “Well, let’s see." The scales showed the bag was, in fact, more than a few kilos over. She consulted her computer, looked back at me and said conspiratorially, “Look, the flight’s not full so we'll let this through. It’s okay.” I’d been expecting to have to pay extra bagging costs - bonus!
What a great reminder that how we show up to people is how they reflect back to us. It's amazing what opportunities open up when we begin on a positive note.
One of people's biggest fears in this digital age is interacting with another human. You can stand out by approaching every communication opportunity with confidence and enthusiasm.
Who can you connect with today to brighten their world? It’s a win-win. It costs you nothing, and you'll reap plenty in return. But most of all, you'll make another person feel good - and you might even inspire them to pay it forward.