When people come to my place for our Sunday evening home group, they always find a little post-it note affixed to my front door. It’s a hand-written smiley face with the words: “Please come in!” I got tired of always answering the door. I know who is coming at that time, so I make it clear that they should come in. And on the rare occasion that I forget to put the sign out, I pay a price. Ding-dong! “Don’t they know they can come in?” I ask. “These are my friends!” Hmmm…
How to Reduce Confusion and Preserve Energy
Pay attention to your signs. If done properly they can reduce confusion, preserve energy, and create a seamless environment for everyone. Here’s a real-life example, in reverse.
I occasionally speak at an awesome local church. Cool people, cool place, cool vibe. Well, as part of their coolness, they’ve come up with a great idea to host a new dressed-down worship service at an entirely other place in their building. It’s a relaxed environment with tables, couches, and different types of chairs. Like a coffee shop. Good deal.
Well, I’ve spoken at that church numerous times, which means that they like me and I haven’t run out of good material yet. And although I’ve been in their building many times, I didn’t know the entire campus. So when I was invited to speak at the new, relaxed service, you might have figured that it would be easy to find the room, but it wasn’t. I couldn’t find any signs. Later on I found a few, but just a few. And they were small.
Less Wonder, More Signs
“Why didn’t you ask for directions, Tom?” At first I couldn’t find anyone, and then I was embarrassed to ask. So I wandered around, acting like I knew what I was doing, averting eye-contact, walking into wrong places, and eventually finding the location. Without signs, even a professional can lack security! Additionally, I was worried because I knew someone else who might be attending that service to hear me, might get confused and give up. Signs aren’t for regulars; they’re for newcomers. (And yes, I’m bringing this to the attention of my church friends. They’ll be cool.)
In any event and venue, err on the side of too many clear signs. Take the wonder out of it. Reduce confusion, preserve energy, and create seamless, welcoming environments for everyone.