This weekend, Mike and I spent our mornings and afternoons doing a bake sale at the local Shaw’s for our upcoming Avon Walk. It was a great success – we made over $400. And I think a big factor in making that was the fact that we smiled at and greeted every customer that walked by us.
Maybe this all stems from my southern roots (southern hospitality does exist), but I think there’s nothing better than getting a genuine smile from someone. Even the grumpiest of people would crack a smile after a “Good morning,” and maybe even buy a brownie or two. However, a lot of them, even if they did respond positively, looked incredibly surprised by the fact that we were so nice.
What has happened to society that we are taken aback by a heartfelt greeting? Are people really that used to the rude, brusque nature of most people they encounter on the street? I think especially in the field of public relations, being genuine is incredibly important and can be the make or break factor for a company.
Corporate social responsibility is something that definitely rests on the foundations of transparency and sincerity. There’s nothing worse (in my opinion) for a business’ reputation than running a CSR campaign that is seen as fake and hollow.
So, I think what I took from this weekend, and hopefully what others will take, is that a smile is all-important; and even greater than the smile, is honesty. As the conscience of a company, the PR practitioner needs to take this into account and remind its clients of this important fact. Especially in today’s world, it’s the small courtesies like those that get forgotten. Let’s try to resurrect some of those dead bits of hospitality – and don’t forget to smile!