Well you will gather from the title I’ve done lots of business training.
I recently attended a workshop for the Leadership Teams for the North Scotland BNI Chapters and I must say it was extremely useful, even though I am not yet in a leadership role in my chapter (but watch this space!) The training was full of ways to enhance the visitor/customer experience, and much of the information shared was relevant at home as well as at work.
One part got me in particular – the importance of networking and making the right impression. Making connections is a very visual experience, as most conversations start with some eye contact. Now I’ve got to be very careful here, as I often use my hands in place of my eyes!
Seriously, this is a huge problem for me, which is exacerbated in my networking group as we now have three Neils. I often find myself saying “hello fit like” several times when I am not the Neil actually being addressed. You have no idea how foolish I feel when replying to a question or greeting aimed at someone else with the same name.
Even worse is saying “hello” on the street to a complete stranger who replies with “I’m just on my way now” – when it turns out they have just answered their mobile phone with a loud ‘hello’ as I passed by.
Even for someone as outwardly confident as me, both these situations are extremely embarrassing and the best way to avoid this is simply not to respond, which at best can be seen as rude, but at worst can mean those addressing you simply stop as why would you greet someone who ignores you in return?
For many, this leads to you taking the easy option which is to avoid social gatherings, leading to increased isolation. I mentioned in jest awkward touching, but for a visually impaired person, a very gentle intrusive pat on the hand or shoulder can indicate clearly who you are addressing and in most cases avoid embarrassing situations for all!