I liked your advice about
allowing the data entry clerk who doesn’t interact with
customers to wear ear buds and listen to music while she works.
My husband and I own a small business and have a 23 year old
receptionist who wants to do the same. We do have walk in
traffic, but it’s not real heavy. What do you think?
Big Bear Lake, CA
than your receptionist; she’s your “Director of First
Impressions”. No matter what kind of business you’re in, you
never get a second chance to make a first impression with
customers. If this matters to you, the answer is a big NO on the
- Glenn in Nashville, TN
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important to understand your limitations when you’re in
management. Having authority over an employee doesn’t mean you
have control over a situation.
For example, cell phones
presented a major challenge in my business when they first
became common in the 1990’s.
Registrars at my seminars
would tell people to turn their phones off before entering the
room. People would disregard this, figuring it was okay to use
them until the seminar started.
They thought they could
end their calls when the seminar started. What they didn’t
realize was that they didn’t have control over the situation.
They couldn’t just hang up on the other person the second I
started speaking. This was especially true when the other person
was their boss, or a customer. As soon as I’d begin speaking,
you’d hear “I gotta’ go because he’s starting the seminar” over
The other problem was that one person using his
cell phone sent a message to others that was okay to use theirs.
I’d ask people to turn off their phones when the seminar
started. There might be 100 people in the room, and 95 would
comply. But there’d be five who’d still be on their phones. That
meant 95 people were ready to choke the living daylights out of
five rude individuals who thought it was more important for one
person to hear them than for 100 people to hear me.
had authority, but only had limited control of the situation.
As cell phone etiquette evolved, everyone in my business
began telling people to turn their phones to silent instead of
off, and to step out of the room if they needed to take a call.
Similarly, managers must know their limits. You can’t change
someone’s character. You can’t make an unpleasant person
pleasant. You can’t make a person care. You can only set
boundaries, reward the good behavior, and punish the bad.
When people refuse to play along, they should be “ejected
from the game”.
To Your Success,
These days, 99% of seminar attendees know to step out of the
room to take a call. But there’s occasionally “that guy” who
thinks he can talk on his phone and not disturb the people
around him. I call these folks “The One Percenters”, immediately
pause the seminar and ask them to step out of the room, and
don’t resume until they do. Some people never learn.
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