- Use Good Judgment in all Situations. Nordstrom is famous for stellar customer service and their main customer service rule is, “Use Good Judgement.” Good judgment survives when we watch for social pirates and avoid getting sucked into their drama or games. If they rock your boat pause and regain your “good judgment sea legs.”
- Let It Go. Seek to release offenses arising from past hurts or current expectations. They provide a ready temptation. A subtly sarcastic comment can push our buttons. Triggers may come in the form of opinions, advice, or flat-out insults. Some family members make their strongest—and unhealthiest—connections with relatives by bringing up past offenses. It’s enticing bait with a big hook. Don’t be lured in. Be aware and prepare to stay calm and carry on!
- Manage your Expectations. Hold your hopes and desires for the event loosely. We may fantasize the our contribution to the occasion will be a wonderful, show-stopping success. We can accidently let our guard down as we say to ourselves, “This year it will all be grand, especially since I’m bringing such a great (expensive, beautiful, tasty) appetizer (side-dish, salad, dessert, game, or gift).” Then at the first inkling of disapproval we may crash and burn.
- Contribute! As long as you manage you expectations go ahead, thoughtfully take a risk and bring something special. That new dish or fun game may indeed be the hit of the party. If it’s not, be proud of yourself for giving it a whirl. Chances are someone will be blessed that you made a special effort to give.
- Dress for Success. Just like at work, dress appropriately, up or down, for your party group. Modesty doesn’t seek attention, show-off, or make a scene. Humility pays attention to quietly uplift and encourage others.
- Give Compliments. Flattery is false. Compliments are sincere. Letting someone know specifically what you appreciate about them can go a long ways to building relationships and healing old wounds. Sometimes it’s nice to give a compliment in front of everyone, other times a private word is better, or, both may work.
- Communicate Carefully. Watch out for worn-out sarcasm and teasing, as well as comments about people’s appearance or weight. Body language, such as a smile and eye-contact, and a caring tone of voice, positively aligned with your actual words, can go a long way to encourage. This takes empathy and thoughtfulness and is another reason to take a “good judgement” attitude inventory before arriving at the party
- Offer to Help. If you are told no help is needed let them know you’re still available if needed. Then check back later with a similar offer just in case. Making ourselves available and useful give us joy too.
- Engage and Listen. Often at get-together there are those who get ignored. Perhaps it’s the child underfoot, the lonely senior, or the sullen teenager. Engaging with them may take extra work and can reap extra benefits as we stretch our social abilities and skills.
- Take Breaks. We sometimes take them at work, so why not take a few minutes at the party to catch your breath too? It well help you reflect, refocus, and refresh—benefitting yourself and others too.
After reading all this you may say it’s easier to stay home and watch TV. But I hope you won’t. Going and giving means Happier Holidays for all!
“Say, ‘Hey, Happy Holidays!’” for excellent holiday service!
Please email me your “Happy Holidays” thoughts!
*This article was adapted from my December 2015 Customer Service “At Your Service” column that appears monthly in the Central Valley Business Journal.