Hotel Online
News for the Hospitality Executive

.

advertisement

.


 
Lessons from the Field
A Common Sense Approach to Success in the Hospitality Industry
By Dr. John Hogan, CHA MHS CHE, November 11,  2009

>
Hotel Common Sense –

A “High Touch” Lesson for Hospitality Managers -
Understanding Body Language

By Dr. John Hogan, CHE CHA MHS, November 11, 2009

Like many other industries, the every day environment of hospitality includes some very useful high tech tools that help project revenues, identify the level of sales booking pace, manage inventory, monitor payroll and more.

It remains essential though in our world of welcoming people to our establishments that we retain a solid focus on the “high touch” side of the every-day interactions with people.

Understanding body language is a talent that can increase your successes in life. You can recognize what a person feels and likely thinks by examining their subliminal body language. This can be both a business and social skill that allows you to better communicate and interact with the people in your life over the long haul. 

“The problem with communication ... is the illusion that it has been accomplished.”
George Bernard Shaw
A person’s words may be hinting one message to you, but her/his body language could be sending a conflicting signal. Through body movements, lack of or full eye contact, facial expressions and gestures, you can often read into a person’s genuine intentions. As a rule, body language communicates more about what someone says than what her/his own words do.

People in the business community use body language interpretation everyday when they interview potential employees. When they interpret body language, they are looking for a variety of movements that indicate if the person is uncomfortable answering certain questions or talking about particular subjects.   If you observe that s/he is uncomfortable about certain points on their resume, their body language may provide you a better analysis of past employment experience than the words and resume combined.  Body language is often used in the legal system as well, as noted that when a witness is testifying, their attorney will frequently advise them to make proper eye contact with certain other parties (such as the jury) in the courtroom in an effort to build credibility.

Lessons for Hospitality Managers

The certification reviews for most of the programs offered by the Educational Institute of the American Hotel & Lodging Association include a section on communication.  This section includes the facts on how written communication is best suited for technical, factual or legal effectiveness, while vocal communication is best for sales and personal interactions. 

The reason is not hard to grasp – we hear the spoken word, but it is our body language or verbal communication that tell us almost instantly if we have made a connection.

For example, if we send a direct mail piece about our hotel in Kentucky to a reader that has never been to the Blue Grass state, they will likely pitch the flyer, as they have no connection.  If they take a phone call from someone they know slightly about the Lexington area, they might have a possible interest in the University, but they may not like doing business by phone.  On the other hand, if we get a face-to-face meeting and “see” by the person’s responses what motivates the person about the city – the ball team, the library, the gardens, architecture, the business department, the caliber of graduates from a certain program or whatever, then the connection is made.

There are entire books written about body language, and the internet has thousands of articles, advertisements and ideas.  I ask readers to consider the following as starting points:

1.  Avoid putting obstructions between you and the other person, such as a briefcase, a package or presentation piece.  This is applicable when speaking with staff or potential clients.
2.  Do not sit behind a desk, but keep the communication flow smooth. 
3.  Learn about people’s private space, which varies by gender, age and race. The closer they are, generally the warmer their opinions are of you. The farther away that someone is, the less they care. It is worth noting that personal space is culturally sensitive; what is considered close in one country is far away in another.
4.  Do not make others feel uncomfortable.  This can be handled by ensuring the words spoken are comprehended by the other party – their body language will tell you if they understand.
5.  The eyes are a primary key to understanding.  People who look away while supposedly listening to you are often thinking about something else. This is why when you are talking to a group of people, if an item in conversation interests someone who may be looking away, they will ask for you to repeat the story. Some cultures believe that looking at someone in the eyes is a sign of disrespect, so we must be sensitive to the cultural diversity in our hospitality businesses.
6.  Use your hands to demonstrate your point if that is your style, but do not point AT the other person.
7.  Watch for people’s habits, as some may be nervous, but others can be using negotiating and stall tactics.
8.  Recognize what agreement signs are, such as subtle nodding, slight smiles and the inclination to complete the business being discussed.
9.  Recognize what disagreement signs are such as wandering eyes, frowns or folded arms.
10.  Learn to read signs of closure or acceptance, such as crossed legs or leaning inwards.


There is an interesting overview of the topic at wikihow.com

It is important to observe as many body language signs as quickly as possible to determine the best course of action with each person. 

What are you doing at your hotel today?


Feel free to share an idea for a column at johnjhogan@yahoo.com anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements …………. 

And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

Autographed copies of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES can be obtained from THE ROOMS CHRONICLE www.roomschronicle.com,  www.smartbizzonline.com  and other industry sources. 

All rights reserved by John Hogan and this column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management.   The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication

Expertise and Research Interest
• Sales Management and training
• Turn-around and revenue management
• Professional Development & Customer Service 
• Hospitality Leadership and Executive Education
• Making Cultural Diversity Real
• Accreditation & Developing Academic Hospitality programs

If you need assistance in any of these areas or simply an independent review or opinion on a hospitality challenge, contact me directly for a prompt response and very personalized attention.

John Hogan, a career hotelier and educator, is a frequent speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.  He is a successful senior executive with a record of accomplishment leading organizations at multiple levels.  His professional experience includes over 35 years in hotel operations, food & beverage, sales & marketing, training, management development, consulting, management, including service as Senior Vice President of Operations. 

As the principal in an independent training & consulting group, he served associations, management groups, convention & visitors’ bureaus, academic institutions and as an expert witness. He has managed hotels with Sheraton, Hilton, Omni and independents and in his tenure at Best Western International, he created and launched a blended learning system for the world’s largest hotel chain.  He has conducted an estimated 3,200 workshops and classes in his career, including service as an adjunct faculty member for 20 years at three different institutions. 

.
Contact:

Dr. John Hogan, CHA MHS CHE
johnjhogan@yahoo.com

.
Also See: The Annual Review: Options to Avoid Struggling to Measure Staff Performance (part 2) / Dr John Hogan / November 2009
The Annual Review: Options to Avoid Struggling to Measure Staff Performance / Dr John Hogan / October 2009
Hotel Common Sense - Recognizing the Many Ways to Reach and Influence Potential Guests / Dr John Hogan / October 2009
Hotel Common Sense - The Most Important Words for the Workplace / Dr John Hogan / September 2009
Hotel Common Sense - A Message to General Managers on Creating Successful Sales Management for 2010 / Dr John Hogan / September 2009
Hotel Common Sense - Understanding the Facts for Effective Hotel Sales Management / Dr John Hogan / September 2009
Hotel Common Sense - A Hotelier's Self - Assessment Quiz / Dr John Hogan / September 2009
"A Baker’s Dozen" of Strategies for Hotel Human Resource Managers & Directors / Dr. John Hogan / September 2009
A Baker's Dozen of Strategies in Maximizing Leads and Attendee Sales Potential at your Hospitality Trade Show Booth - part 2 of 2 / Dr John Hogan / August 2009
Increasing Traffic at your Hospitality Trade Show Booth / Dr John Hogan / August 2009
A Sales Self-evaluation test for General Managers / Dr John Hogan / August 2009
Hotel Common Sense – Effective Sales Management: Short and Long-term Planning, Forecasting, and  Expense Budgeting / Part 2 of 2 / Dr. John Hogan / August 2009
Hotel Common Sense – Effective Sales Management: Short and Long-term Planning, Forecasting, and  Expense Budgeting / Part 1 of 2 / Dr. John Hogan / August 2009
Hotel Common Sense -Recognizing There is More than One Approach to Ongoing Success in Building Revenues / Dr John Hogan / July 2009
Hotel Common Sense – A New Look at Awards and Recognition / Dr John Hogan / July 2009
Lessons on Brands and Discounting / Dr John Hogan / July 2009
Hotel Common Sense Using Business Social Networks Productively / Dr John Hogan / July 2009
A Common Sense Review Process for Capital Investments / Dr John Hogan / July 2009
Understanding Values: The Challenge to Identify and Keep Them During Tough Economic Times / Dr John Hogan / June 2009
Personal Stories of Delivering Hospitality and Pride / Dr John Hogan / June 2009
What is Your Definition of Leadership? / Dr John Hogan / June 2009
Examining Why Do We Really Do What We Do? / Dr John Hogan / June 2009
Delivering Hospitality and Pride / Dr John Hogan / May 2009
Act As if You Are Number Two / Dr John Hogan / May 2009
A Baker’s Dozen of Fundamentals for Retaining Quality Staff / Dr John Hogan / May 2009
Customer Relationship Management Requires a Blending of High Tech and High Touch for Optimal Results / Dr John Hogan / May 2009
Do You Know Where Your Customer Is? Or Knowing Where Your Business Originates / Dr John Hogan / April 2009
Understanding what we measure and making it count! Strategies for Hotel Controllers / Dr John Hogan / April 2009
“A Bakers Dozen” of Strategies for Hotel Controllers / Dr John Hogan / April 2009
A Different Appraisal of Our Biggest Challenges in 2009 / Dr John Hogan / April 2009
Reflections: Mentors and Friends - Vermont Hoteliers Borden and Louise Avery and their Son Allen / Dr John Hogan / March 2009
Remember to Embrace the Essentials in Sales; Revenue and net profits can often depend on how one of the most fundamental practices in sales- how incoming phone calls are handled / Dr. John Hogan / March 2009
Getting the Most Out of Your Hotel Franchise Investment; Working With Your Hotel Franchisor for Everyone’s Success / Dr. John Hogan / March 2009
Getting the Most Out of Your Hotel Franchise Investment; Evaluating the franchise business model as a potential franchisee / Dr. John Hogan / March 2009
Getting the Most Out of Your Hotel Franchise Investment / Dr. John Hogan / Dr. John Hogan / March 2009
Four Steps: How to Make More Sales Calls than Any Other Way Or Trade Shows Can Be Invaluable If. . . / Dr. John Hogan / February 2009
A Baker’s Dozen of Strategies for Hotel Chief Engineers / Dr. John Hogan / February 2009
"A Baker's Dozen" of Strategies for Hotel  Banquet Managers / Dr. John Hogan / February 2009
Making New Year's Sales and Marketing Resolutions Real and Practical / Dr. John Hogan / January 2009
Planning in a Challenging Economy - Probing Hotel Expenses / Dr. John Hogan / December 2008
Planning in a Challenging Economy - Fundamentals of Hotel Sales Planning / Dr. John Hogan / December 2008
A Message for Hoteliers: Giving Thanks - and Not Just One Day Each Year! / Dr John Hogan / November 2008
Hoteliers Must Remember the Lessons of Reasonable Care! / John Hogan / November 2008
Enthusiastic and Sincere Attitudes Will Pay Off For Hotel Salespeople / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / November 2008
Unleash the Potential! Recognize the True Value of Your Front Line Sales People / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / November 2008
Defining Hospitality - Readers Respond with their Insights / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / October 2008
Understanding the Value and Power of Breakfast / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / October 2008
A Bakers Dozen of Strategies for Hotel Restaurant Managers / Hotel Common Sense / John Hogan / October 2008
A Bakers Dozen of Strategies for Hotel Food and Beverage Directors / Hotel Common Sense / John Hoganv/ September 2008
My Definition of Hospitality. What’s Yours? / Dr. John Hogan / September 2008
Principles for Success as a Hotel Manager: 6 Observations on Finding and Employing Problem Solvers / Dr. John Hogan / September 2008
10 Hotel Sales Action Steps to Succeed in Today’s Competitive Marketplace / Dr. John Hogan / September 2008
10 Hotel Sales Mistakes to Avoid in Today’s Competitive Marketplace / Dr. John Hogan / August 2008
Ways to Identify and Build Repeat Guests / Dr John Hogan / August 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Maintaining Relationships Throughout the Organization / Dr John Hogan / August 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Part four: Communicating with Clarity and Candor / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Part three: Using your management style effectively / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager - Part Two: Motivating the Team / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008
Principles for Success As a Hotel Manager Part One: Understanding the Organization / Dr. John Hogan / July 2008 
Updating Hotel Marketing and Sales Strategies Mid Year NOW Is Essential / Dr. John Hogan / June 2008
Don’t Underestimate the Impact of the Hotel Sales Office / Dr. John Hogan / June 2008
Factors for Successful Interviewing Potential Hotel Sales Candidates / Dr. John Hogan / June 2008
The Importance of Meaningful Sales Team Job Descriptions / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
For Hotels with Limited Service, Fewer than 100 Rooms - How Do You Determine if You Need a Person Dedicated to Selling / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
Extending Your Sales Team or Make Travel Agents A Regular Part of Your Sales Programs / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
Finding Business Leads Can Be Easier Than You Think / Dr. John Hogan / May 2008
Understanding the Differences Between Marketing and Sales / Dr. John Hogan / April 2008
Identifying Your Customers / Lessons from the Field A Common Sense Approach to Success in the Hospitality Industry / Dr. John Hogan / April 2008
...

To search Hotel Online data base of News and Trends Go to Hotel.Online Search

Home | Welcome! | Hospitality News | Classifieds | Catalogs & Pricing | Viewpoint Forum | Ideas/Trends
Please contact Hotel.Online with your comments and suggestions.