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Do You Say Hello with Purpose?

The third in a four part series…


“There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.” – Dale Carnegie

If you remember last week, I talked about what we say. I’ve really thought about this week and HOW we say something could be more important than WHAT we say. I go back to my 14 year old – On a typical day, I get “Love ya Boogie! I’ll see you later!” as she walks out the door. But if she has gotten out of bed on the wrong side of the bed or shown a bit of teenage drama or attitude prior to, I get, “Oh, I love you Mother.” If she really wants to do something or go somewhere that I have yet to agree to, I get a version of “You are the BEST ever and you know I love you, right?” See where I’m going with this? I never doubt she loves me and she always says it, but how she says it tells me a lot about her frame of mind.

Think about if you are a sales counselor. You are sitting in your office at your senior living community. You have finished up your reports earlier that morning, you have three visits to pre-plan after your prime calling time, your call time is blocked out and you are making great progress on your follow up phone calls, and the receptionist comes in and says you have a walk in tour. OH INTERRUPTION and you were being oh so productive! You sigh, take a deep breath, gather your things (i.e. inquiry connection sheet) and rush out of your office to the lobby to greet your prospects. How do you say hello to your guests? Do you sound frazzled, rushed and just say a quick “Hi” and then move right onto your tour? Do you look them in the eye, smile, shake their hand and welcome them to your community and begin asking question about them? You are saying hello in both cases, but how you say it says a lot more about YOU and your COMMUNITY.

If you’re in operations, you have the monthly reports to distribute. Here is what you have to work with – the department plans are below monthly goal, census is holding steady but revenue needs to increase because you know you have some large operational expenses coming up next quarter. Being in operations myself, I know what has to be said. The truth and the truth will not always pretty. But think about how you can say this:

Now I’m going to show my “nostalgic, nerdy side” – I have School House Rock on my media library on my desktop. And yes I still watch and listen to them from my childhood. Do you remember Lolly and his store of adverbs? They could come in quite handy right now to help how you say things about the current state of the operations. Now back to my blog….

You could just say department plans are below goal. Period. But what if you could say, department plans are slightly below goal and I am very pleased to see many positives on the horizon. Definitely keep your eyes on the goal and we will absolutely gain positive ground. Sound better?

I will admit how we say things may be one of the most difficult things to change. Electronic media does not help this challenge at all. Things can be misconstrued, misinterpreted, etc. I personally am the queen of short, simple replies. You ask and I completed it, next item. I’m black and white. Check it off. Move on.  I’m an ops mind! Step back and try and remember to think about how you said it. Not an excuse but a challenge to you (and myself).

Until next time, when I talk about what we do and wrap up this series, I encourage you to make a mental note to really think about how you say “hello” to those you see each day and how I will promise to think about how I say “I love you too” to my daughter.


Written by Jenn Cox, COO at Bild & Company.

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