NYTimes: Improv Training for Hotel Staff

The New York Times today had a nice piece on improv training (and ipods) for improving customer service at hotels.

The goal was to foster “intuitive service,” said Jennifer Lee, the Elysian’s learning and development director. “Service by most luxury hotels is based on scripts. We want our people to have interactions with guests; improv gave them tools that enabled them to be successful with their intuition.”

I think the alignment of authentic connection with customers and improv training is a slam dunk. When I did a training with the Four Seasons Hotels, I was impressed by their company’s culture and it’s emphasis on emotional connection with guests. It was shocked to hear a company that size even mention emotion, much less how important it was. It’s no surprise that they won Best Hotel/Motel Staff in this year’s Best of Austin in the Chronicle.

It’s great to hear that more companies are realizing the value of presence, connection, flexibility, and spontaneity in their connection with customers and clients. Oh, and iPods are cool too.

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About Shana Merlin

Merlin Works is the brainchild of Shana Merlin: improviser, teacher, and performer. Since 1996, she’s been leading classes that stretch people’s imaginations, push them out of their comfort zones, and make them laugh out loud for hours at a time.
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