As I was returning an email to a customer today, I was struck by how valuable an extra sentence can be.
My first attempt:
If you go to www.d6conference.com and register with the code ‘——-‘ you should be be able to register for free. Let me know if you have any problems.
With the extra sentence:
If you go to www.d6conference.com and register with the code ‘——-‘ you should be be able to register for free. Let me know if you have any problems. Thanks for being a part of D6, and we look forward to seeing you next year.
I suppose you could look at this example and say, “That sentence really doesn’t make much of a difference,” but for me, my message suddenly became about the customer and not about the process. This realization brought real clarity to something that is at the root of great customer service, effective pastoral care, or deep and abiding friendship: the extra mile.
The concept of the extra mile comes from Jesus’ teaching during his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:38-41). He said, “Turn your other cheek.” He said, “Offer your coat.” He said, “Go the extra mile.” His point was for us to do more than expected, even to those who may not deserve it or may mistreat us in the process.
This biblical truth can apply to so many circumstances, but today in my life, it was about an extra sentence. The challenge, then, is to look for other opportunities to practice my newly discovered discipline. How can my social media posts, phone conversations, or personal interactions be different with just a few additional words?
“I’m busy. Can I call you back in five minutes so I can give you my undivided attention”?
“Hi. How is your family?”
Can you imagine the impact of adding “I’m so proud of you” to conversations with your children throughout the week?
We all know words are powerful. They can tear down or lift up. What we (or at least I) sometimes forget in our busyness is how impactful it can be to add to our communication rather than take away. Sure it may not be as efficient, but I can almost guarantee it will be more effective.
Featured Image by Pierre Metivier / CC BY-NC 2.0