Taking care of business [who cares?]
Last Christmas. A fancy Italian restaurant known for its great food; somewhere in the South of Germany.
We had to wait a while to place our orders, and an even longer while for our food to arrive, but we were entertained by a posh and lovey-dovey elderly couple next to us who managed to set their tablecloth on fire.
When the food arrived, things turned sour. I wanted a large Pizza but got a small salad. Apparently, there had been a mix up with our orders. All the very fancy waiter had to say, though, was: You ordered the wrong food…, and he said it as if he meant it.
I still haven’t forgiven him, as you can see. Pizza is very serious business to me.
In presenting, we often behave like Mr. Fancy Waiter when we do not like a question or a comment from our audience, and we communicate how we feel with every look and fiber:
- You asked the wrong question.
- You show the wrong reactions.
- You are the wrong audience.
- You don’t deserve me.
Hating your customers won’t help your business.
If you feel you were born to be a star, go and be a star: sing opera, save the world or save hyper space, but do not choose to be a waiter (or a speaker). Pizza (and good talks) need to be prepared and served with a loving hand.
This Christmas, we checked the restaurant again; Mr Fancy Waiter is still there, and he has not improved much.
But the food is still delicious and so is the wine. I suggest you try the 2007 Sicilian merlot, a dish of Bruscietta, the walnut pesto pasta, the pizza with Parma ham, and all of the desserts. After that, it is very hard to hate anyone, especially during Christmas.
Lisa Braithwaite has a related post on the idea of presenting as customer service.