Much of our success or failure in communication can be found in first impressions. As much depends on tone, facial expression, and body language as on the words themselves. We build a reaction to someone or something predicated on the first encounter. And so it was with our recent vacation.
Due to terrible motion sickness, I don't fly well and I am often a bit rattled on landing. I couldn't wait to get to our hotel to freshen up and get something to eat.
This was our first experience with Disney's Magical Express, the complimentary transportation from the airport to the Walt Disney World resort. The bus driver, we'll call him Sam, was all smiles when we boarded however that disappeared as he contended with heavy holiday traffic and blown schedules. None of his ire was directed as his passengers but it was a surprise that he would be so vocal about his distress.
Upon arrival, a Disney hotel cast member greeted us by name and escorted us into the hotel lobby. Her smiling face and cheery demeanor were as bright as the Florida sunshine and did much to erase the tense beginning to our vacation.
I sympathize with Sam. Traffic back ups and delays are frustrating. We live in the Chicago area and we always speak about our commutes in terms of time, not distance. We know about bad traffic. We had a different driver when we left so we didn't see Sam again. We will always wonder if things improved as his day progressed. We certainly hope so. And, although we always looked for her whenever we passed through the lobby, we never saw the hotel greeter again either.
Two people, two impressions. The manner in which they communicated with us will be with us forever.
There is no way to know how our clients or customers feel when they encounter us. We don't know what happened to them prior to meeting with us so how we initially communicate with them will impact them in ways we cannot imagine. Our vacation experience reminded me how important it is to strive to make that first impression a good one.