When you ask people about their favorite places you get a lot of similar answers. The beach. The mountains. The woods. A bustling cosmopolitan area. Quaint villages. Maybe a Rennaissance fair for the corset and turkey leg crowd.
But one of my favorite places is on elevators. I love those things. Ironically, the elevator was invented by Elisha Graves Otis, a Vermonter. Which I find hilarious because the tallest building in Vermont is still only about 4 stories high. And that’s a barn in Windsor County.
(Before any cranky Vermonters send me hate mail and explain that there is a six-story hotel in Burlington, let me say I already know that. I am a Vermonter myself. My wife wears maple-scented perfume when she wants to get my attention.)
Back to the elevator.
Elevators are awkward places. They are small boxes where strangers gather too close for comfort. Like an 80s sitcom. But that awkwardness creates the magic of an elevator.
Instead of simply sitting in the uncomfortableness of the elevator I embrace it. I use it to my advantage.
I lob out jokes intended to break the ice. It is easier to get a laugh on an elevator than anywhere else on Earth. Because the situation is inherently funny.
The Weaponry, the advertising and ideas agency I founded, has recently moved into a new office in a 14-story building in downtown Milwaukee. I now ride 2 elevators twice a day. One elevator between the parking garage and the lobby. One between the lobby and my office. And I love them both.
I notice the tension every time I step onboard. And I use it to create human interactions the way a sailboat uses tension on the sail to propel the vessel.
That elevator tension is a gift. Use it. It accelerates human interactions. It facilitates conversation. It’s the perfect place to start a new relationship.
Trust me. I met my wife on an elevator. She laughed at my jokes. I stalked her when she got off. Now we’ve been married for 20 years. #truestory
The oddity of the elevator creates the perfect conversation starter. Use it to your advantage. It will help you meet new people. It will help you laugh more. And relationships that start with a laugh are the most enjoyable.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.
+For more of the best life lessons I have learned check out my new book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.