I spend most of my Saturdays volunteering in a fair trade association and shop. It’s a cozy place run mainly by volunteers aiming to contribute to fair trade programs across the globe.
In addition to the joy of volunteering, surprising conversations and lasting impressions make the time I spent there enriching and inspiring. It’s wonderful to be able to pass on an idea through products and to strive for excellent customer experience in a somewhat different setting. But what fascinates me the most are the people. Like the lady in her early 50’s who entered the shop yesterday afternoon. She looked around for a few minutes and then approached the counter with a surprised look on her face. The questions customers or visitors ask are as diverse as ‘Where is the next post office?’ and ‘Is fair trade and organic certification the same thing?’. Keeping this in mind, I greeted politely and just offered my help. But her query was different. As she came closer, she said ‘What a nice shop you have here. How long has it been around?’ A few simple words that brought a smile on my lips and paved the way for some extra hours of volunteering.
This spontaneous and encouraging statement made me think about the occasions in which we would like to express encouragement in a similar way, but don’t because it feels too superficial or too simple. Yes, it’s THAT simple… and that powerful.