I found myself standing in line to register for an educational event on a grey, cold and rainy day in Chicago. All the ingredients were there for a perfectly miserable day. Yet one thing kept me from feeling that way: a warm welcome. 

As we were standing in line, we were greeted with the most welcoming introduction and smile by an incredible group of greeters holding umbrellas. They literally had thought of every detail. These people could make the clouds part and get you excited for what was about to come.

This got me thinking about our experience design for The Playground at ISTE. How would I want to be greeted as an educator to a professional learning event? Here are some tips that I found from other experiences and transferred to education:

Approach with a warm welcome. 

Greeting learners with a warm welcome is the first step of The Playground experience. Walk into The Playground and you’ll be immediately greeted by friendly educators with big smiles holding a device and ready to assist you. Educators who share a genuine smile, say hello and ask “how your day is going”? A warm greeting makes people feel appreciated, valued, and happy.

Own the relationship. 

Escort educators to the station or point them in the direction to it. Own the relationship and make sure each learner has an enjoyable and memorable experience.

Reset internal clocks. 

The educator’s clock is reset simply by being greeted warmly and being told how long the wait time might be. As the learner is waiting for a station to open, he or she might begin playing with the apps on an iPad or diving into the learning resources. This distraction resets the internal clock once again. While someone is waiting educators might walk by, smile, say hello and say, “The new Keynote is pretty cool, isn’t it?” Short interactions reset the clock yet again. By frequently acknowledging the visitors, perceived wait times are shortened.


Source: Garmin Gallo – How the Ritz-Carlton Inspired the Apple Store