Meeting someone always says more than either intends. In an age of automated phone systems, offshore call centers, and self directed service, “old-school” service is out of date. Pencil sharpeners speak of efficiencies, meeting needs, and new ways. As Mark, Lisa, and others reminded me (names changed), little things matter.
Lisa’s bright smile set the tone. Her greeting told me that I was eagerly expected. I cannot tell you where her heart was, but I do know that her smile, the warmth in her voice, and actions that followed, were genuine.
“May I take your coat?”
“Would you care to take a seat for just a few moments?”
“Your coat is in the first closet in case I am away when you leave.”
“Would you like something to drink?”
“Interesting FT news, isn’t it.”
It was as if I had been coming to this office for a long time. I felt at home, even though everything was new.
Lisa picked up the tone in the meeting. There are a many reasons we may or may not do business in the future. The one thing I walked away with from the meeting was the sense that I had been heard. It is a wonderful feeling. I had the chance to share my views. Everyone present added their questions and perspectives. I came away richer for the dialogue.
As Mark got up, he offered to walk me out. I said that I knew the way, even where my coat was. I offered an excuse to be busy and rushed. “Thank-you. I find that it is important to me to express the small courtesies in life. I appreciate the time you gave this afternoon. I look forward to meeting you again in the future.”
Others have extended this kind of hospitality to others. “When they got to Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabas were graciously received by the whole church, including the apostles and leaders. They reported on their recent journey and how God had used them to open things up to the outsiders.” (Acts 15.4)
It is a great model.
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