The Power of “Good Morning”

Shortly after college, as I was beginning my career, I happened to visit my doctor’s office for a routine checkup. I took a seat in the waiting room and began to look around. There were, of course, the usual nondescript magazines and newspapers from years ago, with titles I didn’t recognize, some were even printed in foreign languages. I guess today’s edition of the local newspaper or the “Wall Street Journal” was out of the question. There was also a television set tuned to a channel featuring a local yokel talk show. Some of the people just stared at the screen mesmerized like zombies. Good morning happy sunday I hesitated to change the channel as I had visions they would turn and attack me. Most of the patients though just sat quietly looking at the ground awaiting their turn with the doctor. Some looked a bit nervous and apprehensive about being there, kind of like prisoners on their way to the gas chamber. It was all rather depressing. Then suddenly the front door swung open and in strode the postman delivering the mail with a brisk step. “Good morning everyone,” he said with a loud and cheerful voice, “How’s everybody doing today? What a beautiful day isn’t it?”

He then dutifully delivered the mail to the receptionist, turned and left with a tune on his lips. As the door closed behind him, everyone snapped out of their trance and began to talk. “What a nice guy, didn’t he have a nice way about him? He was like a burst of sunshine,” and they all agreed.

In a matter of a few scant seconds, the postman had lifted the cloud of despair off the heads of the patients and got them chatting away seemingly without a care in the world. It was probably more therapeutic than anything the doctor could have prescribed for them.

This lesson was certainly not lost on me. Whereas I had been hesitant to talk to strangers in a public setting before, I began to greet people more openly both in and out of my office. Remarkably, the postman’s trick worked, and I’ve been able to build some good rapport with people over the years by doing so.

I have also seen many offices where the inmates either reluctantly give a token “Morning” in the most doleful tone or say nothing at all. The token “Morning” is almost as bad as saying nothing at all as it is devoid of any sincerity, just a mechanical reflex action. Whether a person is a customer, vendor, or co-worker, it’s important to make the person feel as welcome in the office as they would be in your home. After all, it is basically the same thing. Unfortunately, not everyone thinks this way anymore and people tend to see work more as drudgery as opposed to their livelihood. Consequently, there is a tendency to take people for granted. Regardless whether you love your job or not, we have to recognize work is performed by and through people. A simple and sincere greeting like “Good Morning” goes a long way to expressing your interest in others. Try it, you will be pleasantly surprised by the reactions you get and how people will want to interact with you. Naturally, there will be people you do not get along with at work, thereby preventing you from extending such a greeting. Fine, but this should be the exception as opposed to the rule.

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