The High Touch Tour
I’m a high touch type of guy and The Beach Club is a high touch type of club. We believe in The Touch.
For us, high touch starts early and goes late.
Up at dawn, working in the home office, writing out birthday cards, graduation cards and “sorry we screwed up” cards to members and staff. Illegible handwriting, splattered ink. Touched.
I bike to work thinking Touch. I stop by the road to scribble notes. “Call the new member.” “Write condolences.” “Pen congratulations.” Touched.
Into the parking lot, racking the bike, giving the wave to Mrs. X, calling her by name, laughing together at the madness of Los Angeles. Touched.
Walk to the front door, bike bags in hand, opened by Alex, high five and a shoulder squeeze, calling him by name. Touched.
Into my office, middle of the lobby, windows on three sides, hello and a high five to Jamie who’s polishing the desk. Curtains go up, waving to Nita at the Front Desk. Touched.
Supervisors arrive for the Upbrief, reviewing the day, priming the engines, talking “stuff” while I cool down from the ride. Touched.
Grab my suit and off to the locker room, a “yo dude” and low five to three kids arriving for camp. Touched.
Back to the office. The bridge ladies arrive, waving from the lobby, smiling as they walk to The Powder Room, opening the office door, chirping “hello,” leaving me flowers. Touched.
Kids spot me from the lobby and run into the office. High fives and low fives for each. One shows me a tooth, recently pulled, good for frostie tickets. I hand them over and laugh. Touched.
Parents spot the kids, open the door, tell them it’s time for the beach, don’t bother the manager, giving me the laugh and the smile and a side comment about kids being kids. Touched.
Out of the office and into the lobby to do “Lobby Guy”. “Can I help you find a member” to the guest who arrives. Touched.
Yakking with the Front Office team and laughing at the oddities of clubdom. Touched.
Giving a big hug and air kiss to arriving mammas. Touched.
Throwing kids in the air while parents watch, everyone laughing. Touched.
I begin a “walk and talk” through the clubhouse. Into the Bar, high fiving the bartender. Touched.
Giving the smile, the nod, the wave and the “hand on the shoulder” to teens watching the U.S. Open. Touched.
Past the backgammon players, commenting on moves. Touched.
Through the Grill, Dining Room, Patio, Pit, Sky Bar, Beach, tennis courts and Gym giving hellos, handshakes, low fives, the “finger point” and the wave to everyone I see. Touched.
Back to the office and The Open Door. “Life is a meeting.” Staff grizzling over members. Members grizzling over staff. The President yapping about dues and assessments and the price of fuel oil in China. Touched.
The mid afternoon stretch. Out of the office, onto the tennis courts, a couple of sets with a motivated member. He laughs. “Time to spank the manager.” Handshakes when it’s over. Showering and talking. Feeling close, the bond of sweat. Touched.
Late afternoon and the wedding begins. I greet guests and members in the lobby, shaking hands, giving the hug, high fiving the kids, directing all to the “chapel.” Touched.
Time for Reverend Gregg. On with the robes and off to the chapel. My friends, these members, asked me to write the service and officiate at the wedding. I wrote the service to connect bride and groom with each other, with the audience and with me. Touched.
It’s official and they kiss, then turn and give me The Hug. Touched.
The groomsmen and bridesmaids exit and give me a hug. The guests meet me at the reception and give me a hug. Touched.
I walk back to the office, black robe flowing. Members stop me and talk about the service, the couple and being The Rev. Touched.
I return to my office, my “Fishbowl for Touch.” Everyone looks, everyone waves, lots visit. Kids enter and talk. Staff enter and talk. Members enter and talk. Touched.
Evening and the Board meeting begins. Handshakes on arrival. Quality conversation, big issues and small, anger and laughter, brooding looks and furrowed brows. Meeting over and everyone leaves with a Touch—a handshake, a pat on the back, a squeeze of the shoulders, a smile and a laugh. Touched.
Time to exit, another day done. Gather the team for the daily debrief. Stories of the day. Laughter. A high five for each. Touched.
Into my spandex and out of the office. A hand clasp and squeeze and a laughing good bye to Marilyn at the Front Desk. Into the parking lot to load up the bike. Talking to members as they pass, listening to them “oooh” and “aaah” about riding at night. Laughing. Touched.
Officer Rubin gives me a handshake and a wave and a “see you tomorrow.” Touched.
And I bicycle home, glowing, filled to overflowing with The Touch.
Principles of Touch
Touching is personal. Direct. One-on-one. Touching transfers the love and signals connection, emotion, inclusion, wants and needs. Touches are windows into the soul of the toucher and the touched.
And Touch is the essence of club.
“Touching Pros” have dozens of touch tactics and can adjust their touching to the time, the person and the opportunity.
There are lots of ways to “touch by touching.” The handshake. The high five. The knuckles. The hug. The air kiss.
There are lots of ways to “touch by not touching.”
There’s the verbal touch—greetings; goodbyes; announcements; voice mail.
There’s the eye touch—the eye contact and smile; the pointed finger and mouthed “hello”; the wave through the office window.
There’s the written touch—the hand written note for births and deaths and weddings and graduations; the distinctive e-mail; the scribbled note on the first draft of the newsletter.
There’s the intermediary touch when others touch you and you touch them indirectly using “intermediaries”— the employees you choose; the drink tickets sent in the birthday card; the “bridge bucks” distributed by the Assistant Manager during social bridge; the photos displayed on your office wall; the chocolates chosen for the candy jar.
Lots of Touch Tactics. But…………….
When it comes to The Touch, caution is advised.
Not every touch is a good touch. The “Why is he touching me” Touch. The “that’s a very unwanted sexual touch” Touch. The “he’s not close enough to me to give me a hug” Touch. The “he’s touching me because he needs the touch more than me” Touch. Bad touches. Beware.
Some people are Touch Adverse. They don’t want to be touched ‘cause they feel violated or threatened or hustled when touched. Beware.
Some people are Touch Deficient, have low touch chemistry and are oblivious to the fact. They give others the willies. Beware.
Not every situation is Touch Appropriate. Managers need to be alert to “no touch signals”. The look and the “look away.” The arms folded with pursed lips. Beware.
Great Touchers know when to touch and when not to touch. They’re looking for signals and reading the signs.
Time to Touch
How we touch is who we are. High touch. Low touch. No touch. Or somewhere in between.
Some clubs and some managers have The Touch and some don’t. Too bad.
Some High Touch managers find themselves in Low Touch Clubs. Some High Touch clubs find themselves with Low Touch managers. Too bad.
Understand The Touch. Know thyself.
And enjoy the journey——————-