I’m continuing to share little thoughts and snippets from my time here in San Francisco and as a conference attendee who also organizes and runs events I tend to pay extra close attention to the details (not to mention I am somewhat predisposed to observing the little things - because they matter).

This next thought comes from a recent interaction I had with one of the many event staff who happened to be overseeing one of the snack areas. As you might imagine the food bars are one of the hottest and most trafficked spots of an event particularly during that early mid-morning coffee and snack rush. This rush always puts a strain on an event to ensure there is food present and available for the swarming masses. As you might also expect nearing the end of this rush the supplies are dwindling. Event staff were clearly trained to direct traffic to the areas where food could still be found and share with them what food was present.

Sharing this type of availability information is the default, this is the expected, this is considerate and “does the job” effectively. But one member of the events team was going the extra mile. While everyone else was distractedly (and maybe robotically) pointing people to tables with the repetitious comment, “Fresh fruit and granola bars are all that remain” this young woman was going the extra mile. She was being proactive. She stood out to me. Because she was offering more. Her sentiment was the same as everyone else but she added something to the end of her comment. With a smile on her face she was adding, “There will be more snacks available at 10:30.”

Seems small right? Almost inconsequential. And yet this is so often the case with the proactive “surprise-and-delight” mentality. Sharing what is expected and what could be found is good, providing extra information about what is coming next and what time to expect it - well, that’s greatness. That changes attitudes, that informs people. That brings people back.