Communication is something we do automatically – like breathing. But effective communication actually takes quite a bit of skill.

Welcome to another addition of hospitality property school.

I’m your host Gerry MacPherson and today we are going to talk about Effective Communication.



Communication is something we do automatically- like breathing. We have been talking since we were small; talk to our partners, kids, and friends without giving it a thought.


It might seem easy, but communicating efficiently actually takes quite a bit of skill. Choosing the right words, listening with our minds instead of just our ears, and getting our message across are skills that we all need to work on.


When at home or with friends, not finding the right words or miscommunication can lead to problems or even arguments.  At work, the results could be much worse.  Unenthusiastic employees, poor productivity, even legal issues can be the result of bad communication skills.


This does not have to be a problem at your property if you incorporate a few changes to your communications practices.


Let’s look at email for example

Have you ever sent off an e-mail that the best intentions only to have that misunderstood it the other end?

When speaking to someone face to face, do you realise that a conversation is more than words itself?  It’s the tone of voice, facials expressions and body language.

Take body gestures and smiles out of the equation, and recipients can easily get the wrong idea, especially when the sender isn’t the most coherent writer.


Handle Conflicts with Tact

When you have more than two people working together 8 hours a day, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year you’re going to eventually have some issues.  Minor issues will quite often take care of themselves, but those that blow into major issues can be very disruptive and stressful.

Any situation like this you want to nip in the bud immediately.  A good start is to let all employees know from day one your door is always open.  You have to create a safe environment in which employees feel comfortable, to be honest, and openly voice their frustrations.

This is very important when responding to conflicts you have to be neutral and keep an open mind.


Respect Cultural Variances

Our world is getting smaller and more and more hospitality properties are hiring foreign employees as well as receiving the guests from every corner of the planet.  For this reason, property owners need to be more culturally sensitive and aware of the little differences in the way people of different nationalities interpret words and gestures.

It is so important to create an environment that is understanding of, and sensitive to, the needs of employees and customers, no matter what the culture or religion.  I had one property owner once told me that if his employees or guests do not like or could not deal with beliefs, that was their problem.  Needless to say, he did not have many happy employees or returning guests.

When offering feedback, be as clear as possible.  If you’re giving praise, give specific examples.  Most employees enjoy hearing details when they are doing something right.

And if there’s a problem, don’t just say “you’re not finishing your tasks on time”, offer a solution.  You could say “there seems to be a problem with your workload, what can we do to help?”

Talking down or being demeaning to a person is never the solution.


When to hold meetings

A short note that every morning might work. It could state how many guests arriving; any VIP’s (very important persons/people) who might be on property; any events taking place; menu specials or any product specials.


If you want to keep good open communication with your employees, make them feel like owners.

If you have utilised the proper hiring process and have incorporated step-by-step and ongoing training, then it should be obvious to your employees that you have a vested interest in them and at this point, employees should have invested interest in your property.  So don’t stop there.

If you have major decisions that have been made about your property and will affect your employees, let them have a say before a decision is made.  For example, major renovations, group insurance, policy changes for the Operations Manual.

Make sure you educate them on all aspects of the decision but then let them have a vote.

You might be thinking “wait a minute, this is my business” but think about it.  If your employees see that you value their opinions, they will feel like they have more of a vested interest in the business and reward you with incredible loyalty.

Be open with them on how business is going.  If bookings are great and revenue is up, tell them.  If things are slow, tell them that as well.

You might be feeling that you’re giving up control when in actual fact, it has been proven many times, employees that feel they have a vested interest will work harder for your success.


It’s all about open communication.


Okay, you have excellent employees; they understand your business goals and objectives; they are well trained, following all these step-by-step procedures from your Operations Manual and you all enjoy open and clear communications.  Is that all?


Here are some examples of things you could try:

  • Encourage your employees to take a few minutes every day to get out and walk around. It has been proven that just a few minutes can energize the body and boost creativity.
  • Yes, professionalism is very important that doesn’t mean you can’t smile or joke.  A smile or a laugh can be contagious and when you’re happy endorphins are released, they can act as a natural pain and stress reliever.
  • Compliment your co-workers every day. You’ll actually feel just as good giving the compliment as you do receive it.
  • Be appreciative. If someone is always willing to go the extra step, let them know how meaningful that is, which makes any workday better.


If you’re lucky enough to find something you’re good at and love doing, you’re less likely to think of it as “just work.”


To find out more about Communication techniques, check out our training tutorials at


I would like to hear about your Communication techniques. If you would like to share or have any questions or feedback you can leave them in the comments section of the show notes at:


That’s it for this session of hospitality property school. We appreciate your comments and if you have topic ideas, feel free to reach out to us on

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That’s it for today’s session.

Let’s continue to work together to put heads in your beds.

Until next time, have a fun day.


Music Credit:

Sun Spark


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