Every time I fly I grit my teeth and clutch the arm rests of my seat – not because I’m afraid of flying, but because what I hear is the equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard. I’m talking about the announcements by flight attendants.
We recently flew about 8 hours from the east coast of Canada to the west coast of Mexico for a vacation. We flew Air Canada. Canada’s national airline has been boasting about offering ‘Best In-Flight Services in North America’ and being voted ‘Best North American Airline for International Travel’, for the fourth consecutive year by Business Traveller magazine.
And Air Canada was voted ‘Best Airline in North America’ for the third consecutive year by Global Traveler magazine in their annual survey of business travelers.
So if Air Canada is so good, why don’t I feel like a valued customer? Travelers will give you many reasons, but mine is the way announcements are made. Flight attendants rush and slur their way through them, as if they are an inconvenience they want to dispose of as quickly as possible. They massacre these announcements in French and English, Canada’s two official languages.
So how does that make me feel? Definitely as if they don’t care about me or my comfort or safety. They’re telling me they care neither about the message they are delivering, nor my feelings as the intended recipient of that message.
I understand one of the challenges of having to repeat the same message over and over on flight after flight is that it becomes familiar, and boring.
The challenge of repeatedly delivering the same (or similar) message is to make it fresh every time. One way to do that is to remember your audience. It’s always about ‘them’, never about you. The information may be boring to you, but as passengers we genuinely want to know about meal service, flying time, weather conditions – even the safety information.
Here are a few more tips:
- Break down your long convoluted sentences into simple short sentences with one thought per sentence.
- Speak the way you would always speak in a natural, normal conversation.
- Slow down.
Maybe the next flight, I will be able to relax as I listen. Perhaps I’ve even feel I truly am a valued customer.