How to run off good friends, customers, and church attendees

On my last Sunday at one of the churches I pastored I learned that someone had stopped coming after my first Sunday because I had not shaken their hand! 

Here’s how it came down.  As any new pastor would do, I was walking through the church before service started introducing myself to people and shaking hands.  Somehow, I shook hands with one person and then skipped the next person and then shook the hand of the third person. 

My action offended the second person so much that they never came back.

There are a number of take-aways from that event.  For example:

  • Never underestimate your ability to offend people.
  • Never underestimate the things that can drastically offend people.
  • If you know a person has offended someone don’t wait until they’re leaving to inform them!

But here’s the take away that I’d like to focus on today: People remember how you made them feel long after your words and deeds are forgotten.

I know me.  I have my faults but I know I would never intentionally snub someone.  The only thing I can figure is that in the heat of the moment I was distracted by someone else and turned away and then when I resumed shaking hands I unintentionally skipped the second person and picked up with the third person. 

I didn’t even know (until my last Sunday) that it had happened—but the person snubbed did, and never came back!

That fact saddens me to this day, but (live & learn) I remind myself of it often so that I can be diligent to stay focused on the person(s) in front of me for I learned the hard way—people seldom remember what you say, but they forever remember how you made them feel.

Here’s a little routine I go through that may help you.  Before entering into a room where I will meet people, I remind myself to give them the Triple A treatment:

  1. Give them my full attention
  2. Give them a word of appreciation and/or
  3. Give them a word of affirmation

The ONE THING for today: Whatever else you do, leave people feeling better than when you first arrived. 

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