The claustrophobic elevator
My Dad could never take the lift, it was the claustrophobia, the confinement of sharing that little box with other people trying not to look at each other hoping they would be elevated to the next level and the doors would open to save them from human connection.
I have a claustrophobic reaction to the idea of being greeted with a polished, overly rehearsed sales script to tell me what you do in under 60 seconds. Frankly I’d rather take the stairs. Well, it is better for my fitness regime!
Every journey starts with the first step
“Hi, let ,me give you a hand with your bags”
“Oh, right, OK, thank you”
There’s a small business conference on the third floor - smart brain mode kicks in . . .
“Are you going to the business conference?”
“Yes, third floor I think, I’m here early so I can set up my display”
“What are you displaying?”
“A few bits and pieces to promote my floristry shop that’s just opened in Fuller’s Lane”
“Oh, I know . . . is that the one next to the Butcher’s shop? You’ve only recently opened?“
“That's it, I opened two weeks ago”
“How’s it going - you must be juggling lots of stuff”
“Tell me about it, I never realised how much there was to starting up a business and then there’s all the admin and accounts, me and numbers are not best friends. I love flowers, not numbers”
“Ha! Well I’m an accountant that loves helping small business with their numbers . . . oh and I love flowers too. I need some for the weekend, off to visit a friend who’s not too well. I’ll have top pop in.”
“Please do and I can give you the low down on how much I hate numbers”
3rd floor - that’s my workout down for the day! Ding! The elevator ejects a group of grey faced business suits.
“I look forward to that . . . Oh my name is Jonathan by the way”
“I’m Sandra, thank you so much for helping me with my bags”
“It looks like it will be a good turnout today, hope it goes well, I’ll pop in on Saturday”
“Thank you Jonathan, see you then 🙂 ”
People should not be pre-programmed robots
An open positive human connection allows a conversation to flow, nothing staged, no polished rehearsed speech.
“I’m Sandra, I’m a florist, I have a flower shop” - yes, I know you are bored already.
Life is a conversation not a rehearsal. The magic of conversation is when the journey of two people talking to each other, reveals insights that a set piece would typically restrict. We discovered that Sandra hates numbers and is currently too time stressed to go looking for an account - it’s way down her to-do list. Equally, Sandra has met a well mannered, thoughtful and caring accountant. Not only did he help carry her heavy bag up 3 flights of stairs but he’s going to buy flowers for a poorly friend.
Did either of them thrust a business card under each other’s nose, did either of them try to sell, sell, sell! No, each of them had a natural conversation that made them feel good.
Next time you need an elevator, take the stairs and make someone feel good.