The hospitality sector – especially the staff working in hotels – is often the best personnel to learn communication skills. Few things are as challenging as serving customers for a sustained period of time to ensure that they have a very pleasant stay. In such a situation, there are many complex issues that may arise. This requires very strong problem-solving skills and yes, a good communicator is often a very strong problem-solver. Consider the following:
- High Emotional Quotient (EQ): When an individual feels upset, it is usually expressed through non-verbal signals, of which only a good communicator with a strong intuitive sense will be able to detect it.
- Close attention to details: When an individual feels that the conversation has come to an end, it’s up to a good communicator to detect and change the topic to one of their preference so as to maintain the conversation. In the hospitality sector, staff are trained to have a close eye for details such as placing a box of chocolates on the table of guests when they are out with a greeting card, so that the customers will get a pleasant surprise when they get back later. And it’s indeed small gestures like this that we build rapport.
- Good listening skills: Hotel staff are often good listeners and this becomes useful when customers have encountered some problems. This is also applicable when it comes to communication. Often, it’s the knack at detecting subtle changes in the tone of voice or non-verbal language that differentiates a good communicator from an average one.
I am actually inspired by the novel “Hotel” by Arthur Hailey. Despite being a thriller, I am amazed by how the human element of the story shone through. More prominently is the narration of how the various hotel employees managed to solve very challenging issues on a daily basis. This novel provides a very good overview and model of the social etiquette of hotel staff.
So, it will be great if we are able to observe the practices of staff in the hospitality sector. They are good mentors to learn our communication skills from.