Driving with Your Head Down

This isn't a post about texting while driving. It’s a post about awareness. It’s obviously not smart to drive with your eyeballs focused on the dashboard (or anything other than outside) for more than a second or two. The same rule applies in hospitality. And it’s the one I see broken the most often.

Go out today and watch how many people don’t see you coming. Test it. See how close you can get before they make eye contact, before they smile and before they speak. Those of us formally trained in the business of service know it as the 10 and 5 rule. If a person enters your 10 foot circle, you must acknowledge their presence by stopping whatever you’re doing and making eye contact. Once they hit 5 feet, you must say something to them, presumably something nice.

Awareness though begins outside of 10 feet...at least it does in the customer service business. It starts with your approach on how you do things. You’re either the type that focuses intently on the matter at hand, like sorting receipts or typing an email and tunes out most everything else. Or you focus first on your surroundings and passively on the other busy tasks that you need to get done by the end of the day, shift, etc. Focusing outside your own bubble isn’t something that comes naturally, it’s a developed skill which requires practice. So, if you’re in the hospitality business (who isn’t really), please go practice. And make it mandatory for everyone on your team.