How to Make the Most of a Trip to the Restroom
I laughed at the simplicity and effectiveness of Melanie Katzman’s strategy for creating and strengthening connection. Even introverts go to the restroom.
“People are collecting followers and likes, and not relationships. And they’re looking at phones and screens, and not into the eyes of other people.” Melanie Katzman, PhD.
Nature’s call and relationship building*:
You may not appreciate the importance of small talk or the power of your presence.
#1. Acknowledge that people are watching.
Frowns, smiles, complaints, and laughs are messages. Everyone interprets you by the way you show up. You’re just thinking as you walk. Your head is down. You look serious. You’re as happy as a clam.
But your serious face creates a panic. “What’s the boss upset about?”
Maybe you’re just shy. But people think you’re disconnected, aloof, or worried.
#2. Let biology be your cue*.
Take one way to the restroom and another way back. Let people see you.
Engage in small talk on the way back. If small talk is tough for you, craft a question before you go.
7 Simple strategies that create and strengthen connection:
- Hold your head up when you walk.
- Make eye contact.
- You usually look way too serious.
- Slow down just a beat and notice people.
- Eat together. This is not having food to hold people prisoner.
- Don’t invite people to your space; go to theirs.
- Say please. It humanizes interactions. When was the last time you said, “Please?” Try saying, “Could you please … “
If you want to connect, show respect.
What simple strategies help leaders connect with people on their team?
This post is based on my conversation with Melanie Katzman, author of, “Connect First: 52 Simple Ways to Ignite Success, Meaning, and Joy at Work.”
*Melanie on Youtube in her own words (2:24): https://youtu.be/mn88QRsykzc
More from Melanie. “Five Minutes of Silence,” on Youtube (4:42): https://youtu.be/LNq1Tdp50pI
Never forget … Appearances are not Reality.
I’ll keep that in mind. 🙂
Unfortunately, for many people, it is to them.
I sometimes think all these years of leadership trainings, videos, books, etc. — really do come down to reinforcing some basics: Treat people in the way you would want your loved ones treated; Put hard work into being the best you can be at whatever job you are doing; When confused, ask questions; Never assume; and All people can learn and grow — although sometimes they may have to finish growing in another work environment. All of those things involve other people — so it’s sometimes hard to understand why we so often don’t get that part right. We once had a Smile campaign to try and get staff to understand that they should be friendly towards all in the workplace. Really?! But you’ve got to do something, so if wearing a smiley face button or chatting on your way to the restroom is what may work…..go for it!
Thanks Mary Ellen. Leading might be a challenge, but it’s not complicated. You don’t have to be a genius to do it. 🙂
Outta sight, outta mind, eh?
Mine is a rose, yours is a nose;
Slow down, take a beat;
Gotta be! Nature calls!
Somebody Stop Me!
Easy big fellah!! 🙂
Always a pleasure.
Let’s break bread when you’re in the DC area sometime;
I cannot make any constructive sense of this …
This is GREAT stuff! It was certainly driven home to me on several occasions how much people are watching and interpreting, and how a serious look can ripple fear through the organization.
Thanks Glen. This idea points to the power of leaders to influence others.
Thank you for not suggesting small talk while in the restroom. I already have “stage fright” when it comes to, ahem, the business aspect of the restroom and others are also utilizing the facilities. People who love to engage in cross-stall conversation only serve to lengthen my time (and anxiety) within.
Good post – truly. Definitely need to keep in mind outward appearances regardless of what is top of mind.
Thanks H. I’m not sure about chitchat IN the restroom. 😁
Great advice! Often, we’re so focused on thinking about tasks or problems as we walk the halls at work, we give the impression we’re stressed or unapproachable. A former creative director (also a locally noted actor, comedian and playwright) teased me that as the ad agency’s new copywriter, I was too serious. It was not uncommon to see him wrestling with our giant inflatable Gumby right outside my office door to get me to laugh.
Hello Dan, great post. I could not agree with this more. Growing up in the south and having great parents, I have always been taught to look people in the eyes, especially when talking to them, opening doors for others, and saying hello in passing. I am not saying that this only happens in the south and you only have good parents if you open doors for people but only that I notice it more in the south. When I was growing up cell phones were just coming out and affordable to most so we relied on meeting up and actually having human interaction instead of all of the social media today. I am thankful for that as I feel one of my best qualities is to be able to read and talk to anyone. I have a resting “grumpy face” so if I do not force myself to smile everyone thinks something is wrong. On the flip-side, I feel almost insulted whenever someone walks by without acknowledging me or fails to say thank you after opening the door for them. I know this is unintentional for the most part but someone that was raised this way it sure rubs us the wrong way. Enjoyed the conversation!