People often ask if I ever worry about running out of story ideas for this blog. At first I was definitely concerned. However, the longer we do this, the more I seem to see so many things happen in daily life – both the good and the not-so-good – from which lessons can be learned.
For example, the following took place months ago while on the road speaking. I decided to visit a local health club since the hotel where I was staying didn’t have the equipment I needed. It was a very nice gym.
About ten minutes into the treadmill, an announcement came over the loudspeaker. The message had a somewhat – no, actually, it had a very – condescending tone. And the words weren’t much better:
“Members, please show common courtesy by not staying on the cardio machines for more than 30 minutes at a time when there are people waiting. It’s very rude to keep other members waiting.”
Now, it was obvious to my observing eyes and ears that this immediately rankled many of those in the gym; not the least of those being the ones presently working out on the cardio machines (except for me, of course, sensing an article idea for a future issue). 🙂
Let’s do a quick dissection:
#1 Did the club employee who made the announcement have a valid point? Sure, the 30 minute time limit is very practical and, according to others, well-accepted by all. And, if some people were not honoring that, it needed to be addressed. And, a public announcement would, in fact, be quite appropriate in this case as a good reminder.
#2 However, at the time of the announcement, the cardio machines were only at about 50 percent capacity, which made the members a bit curious regarding the timing. Judging by the sarcastic laughter and shaking of heads, a bit perturbed by such, as well.
#3 Both the tone and the wording of the announcement were very negative and insulting, as though being addressed were a bunch of irresponsible children; not paying members who support the operation of the facility with their consumer dollars (and had choices of other health clubs which they could patronize).
So, how could the announcement have been more effectively worded and delivered?
We’ll look at that next.