David Zinger posted a nice overview of his time with impromaster Keith Johnstone. There's a lot worth reading there, but I was especially struck by one side note:
Start by cheering up the audience.
Now, replace "audience" by "customer" (that's one of my favourite hobbies), and we have some powerful medicine. If you set out to start every contact by "cheering up" your customer, you will automatically find yourself:
... being present in the moment.
If you are fully tuned in to the customer's feelings here and now, I promise you will not find yourself thinking about the stack of 27B-6 forms waiting on your desk.
... empathising with the customer's expectations.
A customer comes to you with a particular emotion based on what they think is going to happen next. To cheer them up, you are going to have to read - and beat - that expectation.
... caring about first impressions made by your site, location or appearance.
Everyone knows that first and last impressions are crucial. How do your physical surroundings (colour, light, signage, access) contribute to cheering up the next customer?
... being human.
True smiles can only work over a true person-to-person connection. Humour is the same. Without giving at least a glimpse of the person you are, you are not going to spread cheer. So be yourself - you might enjoy it.!
So, here's a challenge: cheer up some customers as soon as you meet them today.
And here's another: cheer them up even more as they take their leave.
Happy face shot by litanmore at flickr