I’m not sure why, but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about creating deep personal connections with the people I meet. If you remember my HIMSS post, I talked a lot about trying to do this at the HIMSS conference. It wasn’t necessarily a strategy that I’d thought out, but just a reflection of what I’d found most interesting and valuable from past conferences. There’s something valuable and beautiful about making a personal connection with someone. I think in the end it leads to great business results as well, but that’s really not the point. Life is so much better when you really connect with someone.
This concept was reinforced when I was reading Ed Marx post about taking pictures with Disney princesses. For those who don’t read the post, each Disney Princess would take a picture with him and then look him in the eyes and have a short personal discussion with him that made him feel special. I was especially intrigued by this since yesterday I took my family to Disneyland.
While at Disneyland, my 10 year old son had saved up all his money and had finally decided to buy this sword that lit up. It was his money, so I basically let him to go up with his wallet and his money and figure out how to buy the sword. I figured it was a good learning experience. He got to learn about tax and the 10 dollar sword cost him $12. He handed the cashier a $20 bill and I asked him how much change he should receive. Happily his math skills were in place and he said he should get $8 back. What happened next was a bit surprising.
The cashier said, “That’s right, but what do you think if I give you back the whole $20 and you get the sword for free?” My son was so excited. You’d think he’d won the lottery. You could see the wheels in his head churning as he pondered the fact that he got a sword and still had all his money. I think he was trying to figure out what to buy next. I suggested that when he got home he could blog about the experience (yes, my 10 year old has a blog). The cashiers were excited that he had a blog as well and asked him to write down the address so they could check it out. When they comment on his blog, I think that might get him even more excited than the free sword.
While I wonder if my son will now expect free stuff when he shops (which should get resolved when he doesn’t get free stuff the next few times he shops), this experience no doubt left a big impression on my son. My cousin who was with us messaged her friend that worked at Disney World said that this was part of the Disney “Magical Memories” program. Cashiers could give away so much free stuff. She said they’d also go out to people buying passes to the park and give away free passes. This reminds me of the Zappos Free Pizza experience that I wrote about on Sunday.
One of the big takeaways from the Health IT Marketing and PR Conference was the need to create Human 2 Human (H2H) connections (Note: The videos from the conference should be posted soon). While this is true in marketing, it’s also true throughout all parts of life. Think about how connecting with your coworkers can benefit your work life. This is particularly true if your a healthcare IT leader in your organization. Imagine the benefits to your personal life if you have hundreds of people you’ve connected with more than just the casual “Hi, how are you?”
What’s really amazing is that creating magical experiences with someone doesn’t take much. In fact, it doesn’t have to cost you anything other than a desire to connect, a change in approach, or a little creativity. Although, the most important thing you need is a sincere and heartfelt concern for others. The magic might not happen immediately, but these efforts over time will create surprising results.