Hands On

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

– Benjamin Franklin

Good old Ben left out the part about, “You told me, I forgot and now I am mad at you instead of being mad at myself.”

I checked into the Sheraton Vistana Resort in Orlando, Fla., for the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium. As I was standing around waiting, I noticed a “prop” sitting on the counter behind the registration desk. The prop was a hotel room door handle complete with an electronic key touch pad. I immediately dispatched Tom to take a picture of it because “marketing is marketing” and I am working 24/7 to find great marketing ideas to share with you.

Elizabeth Mansfield
Elizabeth Mansfield

Pre-empt problems

It was obvious to me what they would use the prop for, but I asked anyway. Sheraton staff person Tiffany confirmed that the door prop was used to show people how to use the electronic key. Instead of inserting the key into a slot in the door knob, you simply place the key against the touch pad and wait for the green light. You do not even need to take the key out of the cardboard key holder. I asked Tiffany if they came up with that to stop people from coming back to the front desk and yelling that their key did not work. She said yes. Tiffany’s name tag said she was a trainee so she could not have been there that long, but she was acutely aware of people returning to the desk furious that their keys did not work. I am giving this hotel a big “thumbs up” for coming up with the door prop.

I may have mentioned a time or two that I have been involved in O&P for many years and worked in a patient care facility from 1987 to 2002. There have been a lot of advances in technology and componentry since then. I cannot help but think that Ben Franklin’s advice is more appropriate now than ever.

This prop door handle at the Sheraton Vistana Resort shows hotel guests how to use their door keys and prevents complaints about the new keys.
This prop door handle at the Sheraton Vistana Resort shows hotel guests how to use their door keys and prevents complaints about the new keys.

Image: Mansfield E.

Involve me and I learn

Most of us would assume that prosthetic and orthotic users eventually become experts in the management of their personal devices, but why not have a library of “props” that will involve them so they learn before they leave the office? Maybe some of you do. I remember, back in the day, when the answering service would call late at night and say “Mr. X just called and he said he cannot get his leg off!” Usually it was something simple like an errant thread from a sock that had gotten caught in the pin/lock system. I cannot help but think that a demo prosthesis set up to show clients how the pin/lock system works and what to do if they cannot get their leg off would be a great “involving” tool. I can talk about your prosthesis and what to do if you cannot get it off, but using that “prop” takes that learning to the next level.

Show consequences

Even better, what if you had some “This is what happens if you do not do what I tell you” examples? It can be as basic as “This is what your socks will look like if you do not follow the washing and drying instructions.” Exhibit A – tiny shrunken sock. What about selfies as a learning tool? I cannot tell you the number of times that I have seen people walking around with their neck collars on incorrectly. Why not have them put it on correctly in your office and then have them snap a selfie? It is on their phone. They will have it as a reference tool they can easily access and can understand. I just love marketing.

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