Let’em Talk

July 31, 2015 10 Comments

Allen-Grand-View-MtHamilton-4-9-2015-2-Edit-sm

By Allen F. Weitzel

Ah, communication. Important?  Yes. Needing improvement? Almost always!

Why

Poor communication most commonly occurs when the speaker is not a clear, brisk, accurate speaker and the impatient listener begins to interrupt while waiting to hear the meat of the message.  Another scenario happens when the speaker, even when given enough time to speak, omits some of the information during the discussion.  It is difficult for most of us to train or retrain people to be good

speakers.  The key solution falls upon the shoulders of the listener to learn to be patient and help the speaker get all of the information out.  Listeners need to make sure they get the complete story of who, what, where, when and why, and sometimes, how.

 

Anywhere, Anytime

 

Poor communication frequently happens between employee to employee or employee to guest.  Guests can also have poor communication between each other, as shown below.

 

Several years ago at our park, our security staff responded to a lost child call.  The mother told them that she was scheduled meet her ex-husband at the Pirate Ship ride at a specific hour to pick up her children from him after his week of custody of them. The security staff went to extreme effort trying to locate the father and the children, with no luck.  Finally, our staff asked if the mother had called the ex-husband to ask for his exact location.  The mother, in her panic, never thought to make the call.  The mother reached the father by phone.  He described precisely where he was standing, in front of the Pirate Ship, wearing a red hat.  Both separate parties were in front of the Pirate Ship ride, but they could not see each other because the mother was at the Pirate Ship at our park and the father had the children with him at the Pirate Ship ride at another park across town.  Whoops! Wrong park, wrong Pirate Ship!  Now, that was poor communication with inaccurate assumptions by each parent!  The parents, not being effective speakers and listeners, had wasted everyone’s valuable time.

 

Pointers

 

Listeners must shoulder the burden of assuring that complete information is accurately transferred.  All listeners in all situations should follow the advice of phone communication experts who advise that the listener wait for the caller to finish without interrupting, then clarify the information and let the caller end the conversation first.  Never put words in the speaker’s mouth. You might be inserting the wrong words that could change the message.  When a speaker is sharing information, the listener must concentrate on data gathering.  If needed, let the speaker mumble, stumble and fumble their words in their own way while getting the data out of their head.  After the listener hears the entire message, direct questions should be asked to clarify the message.  Do not criticize the speaker’s talking style or message, at least while gathering key data.  Later, if the opportunity arises, the listener can share ideas for how a speaker can improve their delivery, but, as always, never shoot the messenger.

 

Understanding Your Customer

 

In closing, I leave you with this example of a listener knowing when to finalize the information exchange.  I was in a busy well-known chicken restaurant.  I was second in line behind a fit-looking, younger woman.  She was placing her order and it sounded like she was purchasing enough food for a small army.  The employee behind the counter seemed well trained.  He was practicing suggestive selling, recommending menu items, and she was ordering extra items from the menu.  ‘Chicken?  Extra crispy or original recipe?’  She said both, a bucket of each. ‘Any chicken livers?’  Yes.  She also wanted biscuits, mashed potatoes and corn.  ‘Any beans?’  Sure.  ‘How about a side of Mac and Cheese?’  Oh, yes!  Oh and she wanted some chicken wings, with extra sauce and two pot pies.  She agreed to almost everything on the menu that this employee suggested. No lack of communication there.  The employee was about to wrap up the sale, so he closed with that ever-famous phrase:  ‘Do you want Fries with that?’  The woman stopped, stiffened up and said so loudly that everyone could hear, ‘Oh no!  I don’t want anything that’s oily or greasy!’

 

I, and the customers who heard her, turned and looked at her like she was from another planet, and thought to ourselves, ‘Lady, this kind of food is a heart doctor’s nightmare!’  She did not notice the customers watching her.  The counter employee maintained his professional demeanor and made sure he did not say anything to ruin this huge sale.  He merely said, “Ma’m I hear that! No fries!  Okay, your total is $157.20.  Thanks very much!”

 

The message here is to know when to speak up and when to listen.

Back
10 Comments to “Let’em Talk”
  1. Diane Cordes says:

    Good advice for every industry, especially for those dealing with customers

    • Thanks, Diane. When working with employees that we see on a daily basis, we often times get a second chance to correct communication mishaps. Not so with customers in the amusement industry, where we may only be in contact with that guest one time for just a few minutes or even a few seconds. Thanks for checking in and for your support. Best, -Allen

  2. Paul Warren says:

    Dear Mr. Weitzel:

    First, I’m glad you are still doing your blog. I hadn’t seen one in
    awhile and I was becoming worried that you were no longer doing them.

    I must say that I got a good chuckle from your two stories…Pirate Ship
    and fried chicken. I know you were trying to give us a lesson or two,
    but I became enthralled with your humorous tales. Did I miss an
    important communication skill? Guess I’d better go back and
    re-read your blog. Thanks for all your sage advice and humorous
    stories. You sure are a swell writer.

    Sincerely, a faith fan.

    Paul Warren

    • Dear Paul, I am pleased that you like the effort that we, at TAP Magazine, put forth to attend to reader’s needs. We try very hard to be on target and provide info that most readers can use. Whenever I have stories, that are not too long that apply to our topic, I like to include them. Your support goes a long way toward helping assure that we continue to provide management info that assist our readers with a variety of issues, whether we have humorous examples to include or not. Thanks again. Stay safe. -Allen

  3. Jay says:

    Allen,

    Thank you for this. I will endeavor to put these skills to use when dealing with my own customers.

    • Jay, Thanks for checking in and for your support comments. I am glad that you found a few ideas to be helpful. Feel free to speak up if you have other management topics that you feel that we should address. It is always good hearing from you. Best, -Allen

  4. Nothani says:

    Unelpalaelrd accuracy, unequivocal clarity, and undeniable importance!

    • Thanks for following our blogs. I appreciate your support and am pleased that you feel our ideas have merit. The management process can be somewhat easy at times, when one takes the time to look at the issue and then break down the solution. Thanks again. -Allen

  5. Angelica says:

    I’m not easily impdesser. . . but that’s impressing me! 🙂

    • Angelica, Please forgive the delay in responding to your post. Thanks for your kind thought about our “Let’em Talk” blog.
      It is always gratifying to know we are making sense with our management topics and readers find benefit in what we offer.
      Thanks for reading TAP and our Management Blog. I hope you have a successful 2016 and beyond. Best, Allen

Sponsors

Amusement Entertainment Management (AEM)

Premier entertainment consultants.

Tarobots

Boxerjocks robotic boxing amusement ride game attraction.

Wells Fargo

Commercial insurance for inflatables and event planners.

Safari Ltd.

Leading manufacturer of innovative educational toys.

Qubica

Sells capital equipment to bowling centers.

Spectrum Sports

Climbing walls, ropes courses, go-karts and more.

Funovation

Laser maze challenge

Knight Equipment

Drive cables for ferris wheels, Tilt-A-Whirls, Rock-O-Planes and many others.

Art Attack

Theming, miniature golf, parade floats, 3D props, air-brushed murals, signage and art panels.

Belson Manufacturing Co.

Park and recreation outdoor furniture and equipment.

Lazer Runner

Laser Tag Systems

Xtreme Inflatables

Repair and service for all inflatable products.

Wisdom Industries, Ltd.

Amusement ride manufacturer, new and used rides.

Enchanted Castle Studios

Fiberglass statuary and figures for restaurants, mini-golf, theme parks and other attractions.

Adventure Glass

Unique paddleboats.

Master Pitching Machine

Batting cages and pitching machines.

Castle Golf, Inc.

Planning, design and construction of miniature golf courses and family fun parks.

American Changer

Bill and coin dispensers and counters, ticket machines and more.

Store on Wheels

Importer and distributor of quality toys, lighting and novelties. Cater to the amusement, retail and entertainment industries.

Embed

Provides innovative IT products and services with a primary focus on card-based solutions and database applications for the leisure and retail industries.

Max Flight

Manufactures interactive virtual reality motion-platform game systems including networkable flight and roller coaster simulators.

Sureshot Redemption

One-stop source for prize redemption counters at entertainment centers.

National Rock & Sculpture

Dedicated to the conceptual design and development of themed environments.

Laser Star

Laser shooting galleries, laser tag, dark ride target systems, overhead target ranges.

A’maze Ventures, Inc.

Mazes for every location, new and used.

Thomco Insurance (Fun Pro)

Fun Pro is an insurance program especially designed for party planners and party rental businesses.

GloCones

Flashing cotton candy cones.

California Portable Dance Floor Company

Poly Products

Tables, benches and related products. Green products for a green world.

Hoffman Mint

Tokens, medals, coins and key tags.

Northeast Insurance (NIC)

Insurance programs.

Omega Carpets

Printed carpeting for all your facility needs.

Quik N\’ Crispy (QNC)

Quik n’ Crispy greaseless fryer.

Rio Syrup

Over 250 flavors, syrups and concentrates for shaved ice, sno cones, shushes, food colors. Now featuring Hawaiian Flower Cups.

Brunswick Bowling

Entertainment bowling center developer and manufacturer of bowling equipment and entertainment products.

Klopp International, Inc. (Playmeter)

Quality coin counters and sorters.

Cost of Wisconson

Creators of simulated environments, duplicate structures, sculpted figures, exhibits, water features, mini-golf and more.

Sacoa

Designed and manufactures PlayCard, the rechargeable debit card system.

Weldon, Williams & Lick

Admission systems and wristband ticketing.

Harris Miniature Golf Course

Design and construction of miniature golf courses and water rides.

Jane Farrell Turf and Carpets, Inc.

Commercial carpet, printed and decorative patterns, loop and cut-pile construction. Wall coverings in fluorescents, Class A fire rated. Colored turf, both traditional and neon colors.

U.S. Bowling

Award-winning independent company brings bowling to your venue.

Coast to Coast

Coin-operated entertainment, crane machines.

Extreme Engineering

Industry leader in zip lines, climbing walls, jumper systems and adventure products.

Namco

Namco America is a premier manufacturer of coin-op arcade attractions, ranging from the hottest titles like Crazy Typhoon and Jumpin’ Jackpot to classic game-room experiences such as the Pac-Man 25th Anniversary upright that features Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga. Specialized pieces such as Wonka Sweetland and Flamin Finger are favorites too! For arcade gaming fun, Namco America is your answer.

Center Edge Software

Facility Management Software Solutions

Muncie Novelty Co., Inc.

Admissions, financial equipment, printing and tickets.

Spectrum
Extreme Engineering
Funovation
Premier Polysteel
Rebound Unlimted, Inc.
American Conference