It was a refreshing lesson coming from a convention.
I’ve attended lots and lots of newspaper-related conferences in the past 30 years, and I’ve gained lots and lots of knowledge. That has come from fellow newspaper folks in Mississippi and across the country and from those conducting the seminars.
Last Friday, I spent just one day at the Mississippi Press Association Mid-Winter Conference in Jackson.
That morning a packed room heard from keynote speaker Diane Ciotta of New Jersey. After two decades in sales and sales management, she established Training Classics in 1989.
She was spirited and used real-life examples to get her points across. Her focus was integrity – the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles.
Ciotta also emphasized the importance of having a passion for your job. She emphasized the importance of following your heart, not your head.
She said she loves her job. It’s not work. It’s something she enjoys.
That night, at a reception, I introduced her to my son Andy, who has just begun his first full-time job. The three of us talked probably 30 minutes, and she left him with some tips for success – those too based on integrity and heart.
Ciotta, during her presentation at the conference, also spoke about the importance of good customer service. And she touched on being thankful for those who serve you best.
She gave the personal example of when she received perhaps the best service ever from a waitress at a restaurant. Of course, she tipped well. But she went further than that.
Ciotta asked for the manager and told the boss face-to-face how pleased she was with the service she had received.
We typically gripe when we receive bad service.
Let’s all take time to praise the good service.
She also talked about one of her favorite stores for shopping. One day one of the workers in the store made her extremely happy with her friendliness and courtesy and help with a purchase.
Ciotta later returned with a handwritten note for the employee. She wasn’t there. As it turned out, the lady was battling cancer. She put the note in the hands of the manager.
She said she reached out to give the lady a boost, but instead she received the most valuable lesson on that particular day – a lady working to serve others to the best of her ability with a smile on her face despite the serious health condition she was facing.
As for writing notes, she stressed that pencil and paper are still available in today’s world and those particular items can still be put to good use.
Don’t text a thank you or praise for a job well done. Instead, write a personal note and deliver it or mail it.
Or guess what, deliver your thanks or praise verbally in person. Actually, talk to someone instead of texting.
Good lessons for young people, yes, but good lessons for us older ones, too.
Her message was uplifting indeed.