For once it wasn’t me that was full of hot air! Rather, I celebrated my sweetie’s birthday this week with a Hot Air Balloon ride. My goal (aside from making his birthday special) was simply to relax, enjoy the ride and not end up in the merry old land of OZ! But…here’s the catch. I’m always studying communication and rarely “relax” unless I’m comatose or had too much wine; whichever comes first!
A few things could have been clearer up front, like the “one hour ride” turned four with prep and travel time. However, the champagne and appetizers combined with the engaging story teller who almost made us want to dump the tightly packaged balloon back on the ground so we could stay a bit more before our final departure is what I want to ultimately focus on.
More clarity never hurts, that’s all I’m saying! For example, when the pilot asked those about to board if we brought our hats (to protect our heads from the intense heat of the burning flame that will blast off/on throughout the ride), half the people said, “No.” What?! My mind goes into internal overdrive. “Didn’t they read the email telling them to bring a hat? Did their buddy read the email and forget to tell them? Did they forget their hat on the kitchen counter? Are they going to be able to board? Will this cause a fight between the couple (after noticing a stern glance from a certain guy)?”
Communication is a two-way street. Perhaps the balloon company mention this key accessory on the phone when booking (no, it’s not for a hat contest), put at the top of the email in red or carry some extra hats just in case. What I find interesting is the businesses that have the same repeat issues come up. This has to have happened before, right? Clarity is power and giving out all key information up front is key. Always ask, what could be better next time? There’s always room for improvement.
The good news is everyone was able to board with or without a hat. Tall, hatless guys were put beneath the shielded area to protect the few hairs they had left (don’t they know bald is in?). As someone with a hat I’ll tell you it was still hotter than heck, but the view was well worth it.
Following our landing (my favorite part after taking off) and instead of sitting around watching the big pack, the pilot popped champagne (which always helps I’ve discovered), and we got lost in the lore of the history of balloon flights. Just like children who lose track of time while being read a good story, we all lost track of time, sipped our celebratory champagne and relaxed. Even me.