Apologies to Matt Baram…
I was up at 4am this past Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday to be in the north end of Toronto for my part in a three-hour customer service workshop for the frontline employees of a major Canadian bank, an event played out twice daily in 41 locations across the country, making it the biggest corporate gig for The Toronto Second City ever.
Having signed a non-disclosure agreement before the gig there is much I can’t tell you. Here’s what I can:
There were two manager-types (plus a backup) handling the first two hours of the presentation and workshop before turning things over to yours truly. They were friendly folks and complimentary of my work; I found it especially cute that they asked me for pointers in public speaking.
Thursday morning’s session was kicked off by the bank’s number two exec, who came early to greet the participants as they arrived. For those employees who knew who this guy was, I think they were a bit freaked out to have him as the first they saw when they walked in the room. And it didn’t help that the exec was more than a bit awkward with his greetings, sticking his palm out to shake hands while his shell-shocked tellers were still struggling to remove their coats.
And my other facilitators were star-struck to the point where their smalltalk with the exec was absolutely painful to hear and watch. So I started chatting with the guy about anything at all, and before you know it he was telling me about a dinner he was having with his dad that night.
The exec sat beside me for the first part of the workshop, then gave me a sincere farewell when he had to duck out. One thing, though—and this applies to anybody I share a good-bye with: When you shake my hand please don’t wink; it really creeps me out!
My other insight into the world of banking was this: bank tellers are human beings too, and they get just as anxious as you do when there are long line-ups at your branch. In most cases they’re doing the best they can, so give ‘em a break when it’s your turn at the counter, okay?