How to Make Someone Feel Welcomed

We had no intentions of actually going in. Sebastian and I were just trying to figure out the best way to walk to the new school he’ll be attending next year. But there we were, his nose pressed against the glass and me in my moving cut-offs and tee-shirt. “Mom, lets just sneak in like ninjas and look around.” Knowing there’s no way “sneak in” to schools these days and worried about the impression we’d make showing up scruffy with no appointment, I paused. But the eagerness in his eyes won. “Let’s just ring the doorbell.”

“Hi, This is Sebastian. He’d like to come to school here next year.”

Now, if the school secretary had been doing her job, she would have handed us a registration packet or asked us to make an appointment.

But she wasn’t DOING her job.

She lit up like she was welcoming a dignitary to Disneyland.

“Oh, Sebastian, YOU are going to LOVE this school. All the kids and teachers are so nice, we have so much fun and learn a lot.”

And then she asked questions.

For every question, she knew just what to send him over the moon.

“What do you like to do?”

“Well, I like to ask a lot of questions and I like art.”

“OH, We totally need kids who ask great questions. Questions are so important to learning. You are really going to make a difference here. And you know what? You’ve come not only to the right school, but to the right county. We have so many programs to help you become an even better artist. And guess what, every year you can even have your art displayed at the mall!”

“What school did you attend before?”

“St. Paul Lutheran.”

“Oh, a private school… I see. That’s nice. Did you have to wear a uniform?”

“Yes. I hated that part.”

“Guess what, no uniforms here! You can dress to fit your awesome personality.”

And then the clincher.

“What time did you start at that school.”

“8:15.”

“Well, you’ll have to wait until 9:15 to start here.”

The dancing began.

She then proceeded to share all kinds of helpful information about lunches, traffic jams and getting involved.

As we left with our registration packet, Seb looked at me and grabbed my hand. “Mom, I’m going to work really, really hard at this school.”

Thank God she wasn’t doing her job.

Share this on your favorite network!
Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone
Posted in Communication and tagged , , .

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.

6 Comments

  1. That story put a big smile on my face. Thanks for the serotonin hit.

    How to make new employees feel welcomed? Do what this woman did and shock them. Give them what they want before they know it themselves. Do the unexpected.

  2. Karin,
    Great story about a person who obviously sees her job description as the floor and has taken it to new heights, i.e. the ceiling. This is what ownership is about, she’s an “owner” of that school and it shows in her performance. I’m sure yor son will have an outstanding experience at his new school if this person is an example of how everyone performs at the school.

    • Don, Great to have you joining the conversation. I’m optimistic that she’s an indicator of the rest of the staff. Ownership is so powerful.

  3. Thanks for sharing that fantastic customer service story with us! That women is an angel and obviously belongs working with kids in a school. I wish all our schools could have such a welcoming committee and adults who put children first. Kids can always tell when someone really cares.

    You’re going to do great next year, Seb!

    • Terri, thanks so much. I agree it would be amazing if all schools (and business) would welcome folks with such open arms and caring spirits.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *