Just back from a few days off with the family. A rare vacation — no agenda, no places we HAD to go, nothing we HAD to do. Nice.Except for the desk clerk at the “award-winning, customer-driven, best-in-the-chain, excellence-is-our-standard” hotel we stayed at. My first encounter was walking up 45 minutes before the posted check-in time to see if it was possible to go ahead and get our room. I gave the necessary information, and the response I got was a head nod, some typing on the computer, a grunt that indicated we were in, another nod to confirm a non-smoking room, and a verbal confirmation of the room rate. During the entire encounter, the clerk did not stop humming/singing to himself, complete with head bobbing, inflection, and contorted facial expressions. I am sorry to say that the song was not even recognizable.A later encounter with the same clerk asking for directions the next day at least got some interaction (and a map!), but at no time did I feel that my business was important to this person (I’m guessing it wasn’t) or that he enjoyed his job. And I’m quite sure he didn’t know Rule #1.The most important person you’ll talk with is the person you are facing right now (or next, if you are alone). They’re the one that deserve your attention, focus, and energy. If you cannot give them any of these, then postponing the conversation may be your best bet. People are typically able to see when you are attentive, care, or show interest. These things are difficult to fake.
Give your audience (regardless of size) your undivided attention.