As a motivational speaker I fly to a lot of places around the country and I experience some great, and some not-so-great service from the airlines. But what happened this week on a US Airways flight was actually quite impressive.
When I asked the flight attendant for a glass of water before take off so that I could take a pill, she curtly replied, "You'll just have to wait. I can't do three things at once." And she walked away.
Oooooooh. I bristled. I'm certain that my one eyebrow (you know the one that can all by itself communicate the message, "EXCUSE me? WHAT did you say?") lifted about 2 inches off the top of my head. I sat there fighting off the impulse to say to her, "Look, missy. All you had to say was 'No problem. As soon as I'm finished with these other tasks, I'll get that right to you.'" I wanted to say that to her SO badly. But, she was busy, so I just sat there thinking of all my options on how I wanted to deal, or not deal with this.
And then she did it. She walked up to me, leaned over and whispered, "I am so sorry I was short with you. I just had several things go wrong and I took it out on you. I'm very sorry and extremely embarrassed."
Wow. I INSTANTLY let it go. In fact, I found myself repeatedly saying to her, "No, no. That's okay. I totally understand how that can happen."
And then I remembered something I read in Dr. David Lieberman's book, Get Anyone to Do Anything. He writes that if you do something inappropriate, do not try to defend your behavior. Instead, use the phrase, "I feel so embarrassed." Why? Because this one phrase accomplishes three important things. First it shows that you know what you did was unacceptable. Second, it shows that you are human and people actually like us more when we acknowledge something embarrassing and then take responsibility for it. Third, it shows complete honesty - and who doesn't want to deal with an honest person?
The bottom line is that you really could get a second chance to make a good first impression.
From your motivational speaker, Linda Larsen, who really IS embarrassed that it's been so long since she last posted a blog from this site.
About the Author
Linda Larsen, CSP, CPAE is a Hall of Fame Speaker, professional actress, best-selling author and serious lover of doggies. Linda speaks at conferences and meetings around the world, helping people bring the very best version of themselves to life every day! To talk to Linda about how she can contribute to the success of your next event, call 941-927-4700. Or go to Book Linda Now!