When you get in your car to drive to work or to the supermarket, do you stop to think about where you will guide your vehicle, or are you in more of an “autopilot” mode? As you make the turns and stop at lights or signs, what’s on your mind? Are you thinking about your first meeting of the day? Are you repeating, “bread, bread, bread” because you forgot to write it on the list? Odds are, you aren’t concentrating fully on the route, because you’ve been there hundreds of times and you know the way.
Like muscle memory, any task repeated often enough becomes second nature, and you can complete that task with total confidence. You’ve been there and done that. A lot. Practice makes perfect, right?
In Player Development, hosts and team leaders need to spend time cultivating “PD memory.” Set up role playing activities so inexperienced hosts can learn how to handle upset or disappointed players. Use one another as guinea pigs to try out different ways to approach a slot player who isn’t using a card. Make tons of phone calls to invite guests to an upcoming event in order to become good at delivering the same message in different ways. Write drafts of e-mails to new players. Brainstorm to come up with catchy sayings to add to greeting cards. Talk to players you don’t know so it becomes less terrifying.
Do things that don’t necessarily come easily to you, and do them often. Then, they’ll be easier to do when the need arises.
And always pay attention to the road. Know where you are and where you are going. You can do this. (Don’t forget the bread.)