This past week, dear readers, my daughter had an operation. It was a simple procedure according to the surgeon and I am happy to report that Lulu navigated with great success. Even before the nurse could bring tea and toast to her bed in the recovery room, Lulu was on her phone Snapchatting with friends.
Although we have lived in Ireland for over seven years, it was my first visit to a hospital. And for today, I’m going to share a bit of the experience, because within the story, there are lessons for all business professionals.
make a first impression
I am not going to lie. Our first impression of Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital in Dublin was not a good one.
The parking area and the front of the hospital generated feelings of confused disorder. Various incongruous buildings are scattered with a jumble of direction signs in different fonts, colors, and styles. The main entrance doors to the hospital were difficult to find; strangely flanked by a row of temporary parking buildings and security modules.
Once inside, there was not a soul around. Even though it was 7:00 am, a hospital is a 24-hour facility, and I expected to find a reception area with someone waiting to direct, advise, and comfort unsure patients. This was not the case. The signage, the lighting, the seating area. Everything seemed old-fashioned, cold and institutional.
Fortunately, I arrived with my healthy teenage daughter who did not have a life-threatening situation and only required a “simple procedure.” Imagine how you would feel if you were a distraught new mother when you arrived at the uncertainty that was the reception of this hospital.
Business leaders, if your company welcomes people in person, how welcoming is your company’s reception area? Everyone, if you’re going to meet someone virtually, how cozy is your “Zoom Room”? Really. Retest and recalibrate.
The importance of greeting
When we finally managed to find a woman sitting behind plexiglass two rooms past the main entrance doors, she referred us to the fourth floor to check us in.
There, the first thing I noticed was a printed paper sign apologizing for the hospital’s appearance while it was being remodeled. Apology accepted.
But read on dear ones, this story gets better. The woman behind the next piece of plexiglass was named Sam. She had kindly called the night before to confirm Lulu’s surgery. And this morning, she was once again incredibly welcoming. Her behavior was not superficial. She was caring and kind. A good second impression can make up for a first.
Focus on the person’s name.
From Sam’s check-in to every subsequent member of the hospital team we met during our visit, each person greeted us kindly and by name. Yes, I understand that it is essential for a medical facility to ensure that patient names are correct for identification and tracking purposes, but the same care should be taken in the business world as well. When you value learning a person’s name, you show that you value that person as a whole.
Value your target audience
Speaking of value, I must emphasize the personal friendliness and professional care we received from Josie, our floor nurse. She carried Lulu to her bed in the waiting room, provided her with a glamorous blue paper hospital gown and matching paper panties, all with compassion and warmth.
When our consultant, Niamh Murphy, arrived to speak with Lulu prior to surgery, she was already resting comfortably. I noticed that Dr. Niamh, as we called her, deliberately asked Lulu about a vacation-related topic that the two of them had discussed during our previous meeting a couple of weeks ago. That was a great device to help Lulu (and me) relax.
Paying attention to the personal crumbs that are dropped in business conversations will help you create stronger connecting cables between you and the other party.
Next, Niall, the lead anesthesiologist, came over to talk to Lulu. He impressed me how he directed all his attention from her to her. He didn’t just address me as mom. He showed great value to her as a patient.
When you’re with two prospects, do you direct more of your attention to the person you think is “older”? Be careful. An unequal approach can backfire in the professional world, just as it can in the medical world.
The porters who brought Lulu to the operating room also showed great courage. Sensing that I was anxious, they offered me one of those beautiful paper gowns and led me into the operating room to see my daughter surrounded by half a dozen team members and then give her general anesthesia to send her off to that surgery, ready to sleep. -as state.
Don’t forget to follow up
Before the surgery began, I went back to the recovery room. Soon, Lulu was wheeled away, placed on the recovery bed, and Dr. Niamh, Josie, and other members of the medical team made another series of loving visits.
When the tea and toast arrived, I joked that our experience culminated in room service just like a hotel. “Five stars,” Lulu proclaimed. She then took a bite of toast and went back to Snapchat.
Although the building was not very good, the culture of an organization is made up of its people. We found a kind and considerate culture at The Coombe.