Hospitality professionals: get ready for tomorrow, today

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Nov 26, 2020 | Hotel Management | Reading Time: 6 minutes

*This article was contributed by Todd Noftall, guest experience creator and mentor

“A Year from now you will wish you started today.”

For those of you who follow me, you will recognize this quote. I post it every New Year’s Day as a reminder not to let the year go by without putting in the effort to accomplish the goals that you set for yourself.

To stop procrastinating and wasting away time. The saying is true because we always regret not taking action when the opportunity, or in this case the time, was given to us.

Our world entered house arrest in March. Almost nine months later, we are getting closer to the end of what is truly a life-changing experience, (and near the end of a year that everyone will be happy is finally done with).

But what have you done to make sure you are prepared to tackle the normal everyday challenges that regular work-life presents you when we all come out on the other side of this tunnel?

I am the furthest thing from a scientist or doctor, but from what I have read and heard, a vaccine should be available relatively soon; at some point in the earlier half of next year. While no one can be certain as to how effective it will be, it should fill you with hope and a renewed optimism to know that we are on our way back to regular life as we knew it.

We have gone past the halfway point of this marathon and the light at the end of this dark tunnel that we all have been walking through, however dim it may be now, is growing brighter by the day.

Check out the episode of Hotel Cast Podcast “The tough challenges of leadership in a time of crisis”, where Hotel Manager David Arraya talks about the importance of good leadership through dark hours in hospitality

a coffe to start the day

Let’s go back to that quote.

“A Year from now you will wish you started today.”

So maybe the quote should be changed to 4 months from now you will wish you had started today.

Start what?
Start getting yourself ready to get back to work and to get back to what you love doing. Use this global reset to change your professional trajectory and potentially chart a new path for yourself.

Prior to the start of the pandemic virtual communication, while in-use, was certainly not at the level that it is now. Many of you have Zoom fatigue and long for the return of face to face meetings and conversations, as do I.

But, like many things that we have just become accustomed to, this method of communication is here to stay. Whether it is with virtual interviews or Sales calls, how we communicate with each other has changed and you need to prepare yourself for that.

If you are a Sales Manager you should know everything you can about these virtual communication platforms to allow yourself to excel in your position. Use this time to learn how to hold a creative and captivating virtual meeting.

You do not need to be an expert but you will certainly need to know the basics:

  • how to set-up and schedule a meeting,
  • how to share your screen and files,
  • how to communicate your message/presentation effectively

You may not think that this is important right now or that you can figure it out later, but I can tell you that your competitors think it is important and that this is what they are doing. Aside from either giving yourself an edge over your competitors or simply leveling the playing field, you should know that potential future employers will highly value this new skill set.

Set yourself up for success in the hospitality industry

As for virtual interviews, they are also here to stay, at least the preliminary rounds of interviews. As many of you have already experienced, interviewing virtually is very different from an in-person interview.

Before when you met in person, with a Human Resources representative, you were never concerned about lighting, background, wi-fi signal strength, the level of volume, camera angles, background noise, or the battery level on your ear pods.

Now you need to be, in addition to being able to express yourself in a way that showcases your personality and highlights your skills. Like every other skill practice makes perfect, so practice this with a friend or a colleague and develop this new, and very necessary, skill that will enable you to stand out amongst those who haven’t, or didn’t, invest the time to get ready.

⇒ Listen to Top Headhunter Jeremy Nichol’s advice on how to get prepared for a job interview in the hospitality industry:

Communicate with confidence

For those about to enter the hospitality industry, public speaking, or even speaking with confidence, is something that many people have a challenge with. This is a people business and being able to communicate effectively is critical. In this example when I say communicate I am not referring to fluency, I am referring to personality.

Whether English is your first language or not, the key to delivering great customer service is being able to make a personal connection with your guests and your personality, and how you express yourself, is how you do that.

There are a number of books you can read and courses you can take, to help you with this. I am not recommending or endorsing any of them, if this is something that suits your needs then I would encourage you to do what is best for you.

I will though, suggest something that I have been telling some of the students that I have been working with to help improve and develop their communication skills. Whenever you are in a virtual setting (in this example a classroom) have your camera turned on to either ask or answer questions or when you are adding to the discussion.

The first time will be hard but the more you do it the more comfortable you will become. As you become more comfortable you will become more confident and you will gradually learn how to communicate effectively and express your personality. Not only will this help you with virtual interviews but it will lay the groundwork for communicating effectively with your future guests.

Maybe you want to learn a new skill or further develop a current one. Think about what you need to learn, or know, to make you the best at your current position or your previous one. Whether it is a hard skill like learning a new language or obtaining a certificate in a specialized subject, or a soft skill like time management and organization. Only you know what you need to do, you just need to commit to yourself to take action.

Only you know what was holding you back and only you can take steps to eliminate that barrier.

Take action

I know exactly what you’re thinking. It’s easy for me to say these things and you’re right, it is easy. The hard work comes with action. I understand that learning a new skill or trying to improve something about yourself can be hard and can be a challenge. But it’s supposed to be because if it was easy you wouldn’t need to do it.

I can’t tell you when life will return to whatever your normal was before it all changed. I can’t tell you when people will feel confident enough to travel and fill our hotels and restaurants again.
I can’t, but I wish I could.

The one thing I can tell you is this. Whatever it is that you want to work on, develop, learn or felt was holding you back, now is your time to focus on that.

Turn a negative into a positive.

Take a bad experience and make it into an opportunity for you to grow.

When things do return to normal, you’ll wish you had started today.

Todd-M.-Noftall-photoAbout the author: “Creating personal connections & memorable experiences for all of my guests are key components to my Customer Service philosophy.  My passion to serve is equaled only by my commitment to share my knowledge & experience with both industry colleagues and peers, as well as those students currently enrolled in Hospitality Programs who are looking to find their way in this great industry.”

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