Are You Sacrificing Friendly for Fast?

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A Visit to a Freaky Fast Franchise by Business Humorist, Karyn Ruth White

Let me begin by emphatically stating that I am a HUGE fan of Jimmy Johns Sub Franchise…I love them so much it’s FREAKY!!! I think their product is superior, their service is FREAKY FAST and their quality is consistent.  I have witnessed Jimmy Johns’ delivery drivers running…that’s right…running in and out of their delivery cars, visibly eager to bring their Freaky Fast goodness to the next hungry customer.  Witnessing and experiencing this dedication to excellence, brings me to the conclusion, that the Jimmy Johns’ leadership team would welcome feedback from their customers on how to be EVEN BETTER…so here’s mine;

I recently visited a Jimmy Johns store in my neighborhood near Denver, Colorado.  I am a fairly regular customer at this particular location and I have always had a great experience. I’m the customer who enters the door and immediately starts jammin’ to the music and dancing up to the counter…which makes it even more ironic that the manager behind the counter on this particular day…greeted me with a blank stare, no smile and no discernable desire to make any type of human connection.

In a rapid, robotic tone she recited: “Welcome to Jimmy Johns, How can I help you?” I was tempted to say: “OK, let’s try that again…This time with feeling!”

I said: “Wow, you’re very speedy aren’t you?” She said: “Yeah, people tell me all the time that I talk too fast.” “Yeah…Freaky Fast!”

After leaving the store, I continued to ruminate about the robotic manager and it occurred to me that, in their dedication to being FREAKY FAST, at least one member of the Jimmy Johns’ family had crossed over to FREAKY CURT. 

In our mad attempt to be “meet the deadline,” whether in a sub shop or within a business team, if left unchecked, we run the risk of coming off as curt, robotic and unfeeling in our human contact.  I believe that the human niceties, and the “not so small” courtesies like a smile, taking a moment to listen, and showing a little patience even when we’re busy…ALWAYS come first. Cooperation and efficiency flow from there.

Moral of the Story:

We don’t have to sacrifice the human niceties for efficiency. There is a very fine line between FAST and CURT, and make no mistake…your customers can feel the freaky difference.

Karyn Ruth White is an award-winning humorist, Keynote Speaker and Trainer who enjoys helping business thrive and have fun doing it! She provides engaging laugh and learn trainings to help service professionals not only give great service… but WANT to give great service. She is the owner of Laugh and Learn Productions, LLC, an enterprise helping people to stress less and work more joyfully. Visit her at www.karynruth.com, on LinkedIn or on Twitter @karynruth.

Minimizers-At-Large

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Definition: Minimizer; a person who habitually attempts to make other people feel less than. Less than valuable, less than worthy, less than capable, less than competent, less than deserving, less than perfect or less than human.

Minimizers are omnipresent, insidious, potentially powerful, creatures who abound in all shapes and sizes. (Oh and by the way, they tend to be miserable in their own lives.)

And Minimizers are a crafty lot. Their verbal attack can come in the form of what appears to be a “harmless” remark in public company.  If you call them on it, they will most commonly respond:

a)  You’re being too sensitive

b)  It was a joke

c)  I didn’t mean anything by it.

I think, that on this very human journey of ours, it is important to give people the benefit of the doubt, so the first time I feel minimized by you, I will chalk it up to human miscommunication and let it go. (This time.) But let’s be clear, the red flag has been raised.  If it happens again, then I will consider that to be pattern of behavior, and it will need to be addressed.

When I sense that someone is trying to minimize me or my work, I know that we will not be doing business together. I am always willing to be flexible and get creative whenever possible to make a deal a win-win, but it has to be because I like you and believe in your work.  I must believe that we are partnering for our mutual success.

I once had an associate (a habitual Minimizer) who tried to get me to edit her book for free.  In her inimitable minimizing style she asked me: “Oh, could you just run your eyes over my book and punch it up with some humor?”

“Just run your eyes over it.” CLASSIC!  To this day I still use this phrase with my team when I ask them to do a big project… “Oh, Barbara, could you just “run your eyes over” the OPS Manual and update it?” Then we laugh and get to work.

Minimizers, when you come right down to it, make a habit of not granting the other person proper respect.  So… it then becomes our responsibility to command it.

It is our responsibility to teach others how to treat us.

SHAMERS are in the same family as MINIMIZERS.

Shamers are people who try to shame you into doing something you don’t want to do, or shame you into believing something negative about yourself.

 I don’t let people get away with trying to shame me.  If someone says: “Shame on you.” I look them dead in the eye and immediately respond: “Shame off me.” That usually stops them cold. 

One must tread daily, the fine line between censoring every word another person utters in your direction, and not letting people trample all over you.

Important Lesson:

Let your self-assuredness stop Minimizers in their tracks. Confront them early about their behavior, or it will become a pattern. It is best to deal with Minimizers in a calm, confident and professional manner.

And…most importantly, don’t become a Self-Minimizer. Speak only self-value. Don’t run yourself down. Don’t repeatedly say or think negative thoughts about yourself…you might just start believing them.  Feed your mind daily with a positive focus.

Here are some resources for dealing with Minimizers:

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, by Amy Morin

Dealing With Difficult People, by Charles J. Keating

Make Difficult People Disappear, by Monica Wofford

Here are some of my favorite inspirational quotes to help you keep a positive focus around Minimizers:

“How people treat you is their karma. How you react is yours.” Wayne Dyer

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt

“To belittle is to be little.” Carol Moran

“Rudeness is the weak person’s imitation of strength.” Eric Hoffer

“To be yourself in a world that is trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment of all.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Karyn Ruth White is a thought-laugher in the exciting field of Human Potential.  She calls herself a Success Humorist (a job title she made up.) She energizes Conferences around the U.S. with her hilariously poignant Keynote talks. She is an author, a comedian and the proud owner of Laugh and Learn Productions, LLC, an enterprise helping people to live and work from their greatness (and never feel minimized.) Visit her on-line at karynruth.com or email her at info@karynruth.com

No Question, I Miss You Terribly

question-1500086_1280Remember…Ah…I remember…

The days when you could have an actual conversation with another person?

No little screen to distract either of you, no beeping interruptions.  Just pure, wonderful, intoxicating, give and take conversation.

For those of you who don’t remember what that was like, it would go something like this:

You would start by telling the other person something about your day or your life, or your thoughts on a particular subject, and while you were speaking, the other person would give you their full attention, including eye-contact, (that’s right – people used to actually look at one another when they spoke,) and then they would ask you…wait for it…a follow-up question.

THAT’S RIGHT! A FOLLOW-UP QUESTION.

…and here’s the incredible part, their follow-up question would refer in some way to what you had just shared. (This is why it’s called a follow-up question.)

For those of you who have never been on the receiving end of a follow-up question, here are some examples of a few of my personal favorites:

“What was that like for you?

How fascinating, would you tell me more about that?

How did that make you feel?

So, then what did you do?

What happened next?”

You might want to re-read these questions over and over again, because this is the only place you are ever going to see or hear them.

Because…it is official…the follow-up question is dead! Stone Cold Dead.

I am not sure when this happened exactly, but I think it’s safe to say that it drew its last breath within the past three years.

Perhaps the “Conversation Coroner” could provide us with the exact time of death.

There is a reason it is called: The ART of Conversation.

It is not called, “You mindlessly talk about you, I wait until you’re done (maybe), and then I mindlessly talk about me. Repeat.”

I have had to release several friends and colleagues over the past several years because when I talked with them, I didn’t feel like anything “stuck.” I call it having a Teflon™ Conversation. 

Most unaware people define “having a conversation” as; I’ll talk, you nod.

The “art” in the art of conversation, refers to the give and take involved.  Good conversation should flow from one person to the other and then back again. It should have a natural back and forth rhythm, kind of like great sex.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of verbal masturbation going on out there. And frankly, I don’t think anyone is satisfied.

There’s no more give and take. I am appalled at how many encounters I have had lately, where the dynamic is clearly take, take.  Where people continuously hijack the conversational ball and mindlessly bring all the focus back to them. 

I pour out my soul, and when I finish, rather than getting a follow-up question from the other person, which would indicate:

a) They are listening to me

b) They have processed anything I’ve said

c) They give a rip about me as a person.

instead, what I get is a blank stare, a short pause, and then they’re off to talking about themselves again. I want to reach over the table and smack them.  I just tune out when this happens and go into my own mind.  They no longer have my respect or attention. Because, as far as I am concerned, there is no chance that this is ever going to turn into a real conversation.

You want to look like a superstar in your relationships? You want to stand out at networking events? You want to close more business? Then do this…

ASK A FOLLOW-UP QUESTION. 

I know, I know, this is unfamiliar territory, but give it a try. Try it, see what happens. Watch how people respond to you, notice how the quality of your interactions improve, and then report back and tell me, 

“How did that feel for you?”

Karyn Ruth White is a thought-leader in the exciting field of Human Potential. She is a Success Humorist, Keynote Speaker, Author, Comedian and Speaker Coach. She is the proud owner of Laugh and Learn Productions, LLC, an enterprise dedicated to helping people live and work from their greatness. If you have a follow-up question, visit karynruth.com or email info@karynruth.com.