Daniele Catalanotto
Author - Daniele Catalanotto

Conferences are about people connecting, and yet a conference is made up of a crowd of strangers...

The simplest way to make people less grumpy and maybe even happy
The simplest way to make people less grumpy and maybe even happy

You need something to hold to know where to put your hands and not look stupid. Because no- if you are anything like me- you are not an Italian guy who knows how to speak with his hands. You need a subject to start a conversation with a beautiful and smart person. Don't despair! There is a simple solution to this common problem.

You just needed some good coffee.

Last week, I had the chance to talk to Ines Rüthrich. Ines is one of the people in charge of organizing the next Service Design Conference. I asked her about what is the little thing that doesn’t cost much but has a huge impact. She thought about it for a few seconds and said in a serious way: « The coffee. Definitely the coffee. ». Ines explained me how an event she organized suffered from a situation without coffee. This was in New-York. There, after the 9/11 security policies make it impossible to offer coffee to go. Attendees with their Starbucks coffee aren't allowed to bring it inside. «When people don’t have their coffee in the morning they get grumpy». It’s a simple fact, many people like their morning routine and get their coffee at work. If they can’t get their coffee at the conference, you start to mess with their routine. And as many of us know, never mess with the routine of a user.

It works at church as well

This simple tip by Ines reminded me of a simple hack we did with a church some years ago. Usually people come to the service, go the their seat and wait until it starts. To make it less awkward for new comers we added some simple bar tables with drinks and peanuts. The effect for them was immediate. They all gathered around the table and felt less intimidated. They could just go straight to the drinks, pour themselves some cheap cola drink, and have something to do. They weren’t the weirdo in the crowd who has no friend or plays on his smartphone alone anymore. Now they were cool guys, standing and enjoying a drink.

Coffee or simple drinks can have a huge impact on how people will experience an event. In conferences the networking aspect is important. And the drinks can help people connect more with more ease. That's why the coffee is definitely something important for conferences.

About this article

This article is part of a series celebrating the next Service Design Conference. The conference will take place in Amsterdam on the 27th and 28th October. Let’s meet there and share a coffee together. If you would like to meet, leave a comment below and I’ll offer you a coffee in Amsterdam :)

Daniele Catalanotto
Daniele Catalanotto - Design Strategist at Enigma

Daniele is a swiss Service Designer who believes that helping others is the best hobby in the world.

Related Community Knowledge

Other Creating an inclusive company culture by Menlo Park

Creating an inclusive company culture by Menlo Park

We caught up with Max Masure, a New York based, community-centered UX Researcher and author; discussing their career in tech and their work towards making the world a more inclusive space for everyone.

Continue reading
Other Changing the equation on LGBTQ+ equity and inclusion

Changing the equation on LGBTQ+ equity and inclusion

LGBTQ+ tech advocates show the key role CIOs can play in catalyzing the change necessary in business practices and technology design to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse society.

Continue reading
Other Rethinking masculinity in the workplace

Rethinking masculinity in the workplace

Many of the challenges we face at work and in society are rooted in how we interpret gender, masculinity, and femininity

Continue reading
Other Why I Put Pronouns on my Email Signature (and LinkedIn profile) and You Should Too

Why I Put Pronouns on my Email Signature (and LinkedIn profile) and You Should Too

For a cisgender person (a person whose gender is in alignment with the sex they were assigned at birth- more on that another time!) there is little to no risk in sharing your pronouns. When you’ve never questioned what pronouns people use for you, or even thought about the idea of pronouns after you learned about them in 2nd grade, sharing your pronouns on digital profiles is easy and costs you nothing.

Continue reading