Seeking a bit of respite in different environs after being cocooned in my office for four days, it was time to venture out to a new coffee shop/restaurant/barber shop I'd seen while trudging home from the subway. As I sat down at my table, this little sign greeted me.
The advent of the remote worker has inundated coffee shops with neighborhood denizens, faces stuffed in screens. These blue-faced laptop dwellers limit the shop's chances for customers who help them pay the rent and maybe even bring a bit extra home for the fancy wine they like to drink at night. It takes a whole lotta cups of coffee + tea to make rent, especially where I live in New York. No wonder they zealously guard their over-priced retail shop against these space invaders.
As someone who finds white noise the best sort of writing environment, I'm guilty of littering coffee shops with my presence. There's a shop I used to frequent whose method of driving away low-paying, long-staying laptop users was to remove all power outlets in the seating area. One day they were simply gone, their sparks of light never to be seen again on this side of the counter. We've all seen the signs in establishments that are signed by "management." If this company wanted to go the authority route, they might have placed signs that said: No laptops after 5pm, the Management.
One Goal, Different Messages
All of these coffee shops had the same goal: to limit the number of low paying, low turnover customers in favor of higher paying, higher turnover ones. Now, which of these places do you think you'd feel most comfortable? The one that was playful + upfront, the slightly passive-aggressive place or the one that used authority + control to set the tone in their establishment?
Your intent is revealed through your words + actions. The place with the playful sign may need to maximize their earning opportunities but they communicate it in a way that makes me feel like they actually care about me.
What Are YOU Communicating?
There are plenty of ways to show your personality and influence how your customers + prospects feel when they interact with you. Of course there's your 140, the land that practically inserts humor into your tweets with lol cats and animated gifs. But there are plenty more.
Your 404 page.
Your newsletter signup.
Your email sign-off.
Take a peek at these communication outlets. Ask yourself: Do they communicate rigidity? Do they sound drier than a tax document? How do they make you feel? Do they make you feel anything?
Most people walk around zombie-like, stumbling through the day. Wake them up. Make them pay attention. If you make them feel something they're going to remember you much longer. Now that you have your answers, don't you think it's time to get editing?