Facilitation Tips ‘N Tricks

By Katrina Harpell

I am a creature of habit.  When it comes to make-up, perfumes and coffee, I am brand loyal.  Partly, my loyalty comes from finding something I really like and am not allergic to.  But just as important to me is the experience I get as a customer at the point of sale.

When we are hosting & facilitating a long session here at our offices, part of the plan is always to do a Starbucks run.  The baristas across the street from our office may know a few of us deliverers of caffeine joy by face, but they definitely know the order sheet we bring in with everyone’s requests.  I don’t know how they really feel deep down inside when they see us coming, but they are always cheerful, happy, joking, accommodating and friendly to our faces.   And that is why it is Starbucks we serve.  It’s the service, the personal touch when creating mocha-venti-soy-non-sweet-triple-shot-no-foam wonders we are indulgent enough to order.

I have a Starbucks card.  Actually, I have a Gold Membership Starbucks card.  But I am not brand loyal to them.  For me, Starbucks is still more of a treat.  There are 4 Starbucks at Yonge & Eglinton.  And yet every morning I go to Second Cup in the Eglinton subway station.  I have been going there EVERY weekday morning for the past 9+ years I’ve worked at SW+A.  And they know me.  Joy and Jane and the rest of the wonder-crew see me, wish me a good morning, notice when I cut my hair or get a tan, and do not ask me what I want.  Ever.  Because they know.  And I love that.  I keep going back – partly because it’s convenient, I like the coffee a lot, and most important, because even though hundreds of people go through that location every day, they know me.  And I feel special.

Here are a few ideas of how to make your team/clients feel special with just a little personal touch:

  • If it’s a manageable group size (12 or less), before ordering lunch send out a quick note saying “We’re serving sandwiches – do you have a favourite kind of sandwich?”, give a list of options, and then order it for them.  Simple and yet always appreciated.
  • Do a coffee run.  Have a sheet ready to pass around so everyone can order something special, and grab a few co-workers to help you bring back the drinks.
  • Mix it up.  If the same group is meeting multiple times over a few weeks, don’t serve the same food each time.  Recognize the variety is the spice of life, and change things up!