Showing posts from April, 2010

Hospitality by Any Other Name

I shared a motel room with a toe nail once—not mine. To be fair, I saw the clipping on the third evening, peeking out from under the table near the window. I notified the office the next morning. When I returned from my client’s site that afternoon, the toenail still smiled at me. Two weeks later, I returned to the same small town, the same motel, the same room, and, you guessed it, the same crescent of someone else’s pedicure winking at me from beneath the table. Yuck! Last week, I shared a hotel suite with a chunk from a chocolate chip cookie. Again, not mine. The all suites hotel—think high-priced—didn’t live up to the typical standards I associate with it's brand name. The room, although spacious, exhibited a worn, tired look. That alone, not even counting the cookie chunk, made me leery of the suite’s cleanliness. I notified the front desk when I checked out:  about the lingering cookie crumb, and the clock/radio and TV remote that didn’t work. You might ask why I didn’t

A Call to Vanilla

Do they still give kids ice cream after a tonsillectomy? I had my tonsils removed when I was five. Back then, the doctors promised you all the ice cream you wanted. I remember sitting in my hospital room—tonsillectomies required a two night stay back then—and the nurse asking me whether I wanted chocolate or vanilla. I answered in a split second, “Vanilla!” The nurse blinked at me in surprise and said, “No one's ever chosen vanilla before.” Her reaction stuck with me. Was vanilla really that odd a choice? We have the saying, “plain old vanilla,” but I don’t find it boring at all. Over the years, my food choices have reinforced my preference for vanilla. I love vanilla ice cream and milk shakes. I’ll eat, but not happily, a chocolate cake with chocolate icing, but I gravitate toward vanilla or yellow cake with vanilla icing. I like cookies that have chocolate chips or chunks in them, but I’d rather have a non-chocolate cookie. When Nabisco started making Golden Oreos®, I

Truths in Training

After twenty years in the business of training people, I’ve learned a few truths about teaching adults: 1. The client will only give you the information you ask for so make sure you find out as much as you can about their goals and the employees’ attitudes and expectations before you develop or teach a class. 2. Something unexpected will happen. Flexibility and quick-thinking is necessary in these circumstances. Preparation and proper fact-finding (see #1) will eliminate most of these surprises. 3. Almost every class will include participants who do not want to be there. Some of them will try to challenge you. 4. What you do about problems/mishaps during training is more important than the actual problem. These occurrences show that you’re human if you handle them well. I was reminded of these facts with a recent client.  I cut my training teeth on a very difficult and challenging population, so when a client hints that their employees might exhibit negative or unprofessional

Signs of Spring and Celebration

During my childhood, I recognized that spring lurked around the corner when my mother piled us into the car to go in search of that perfect Easter outfit. I have fond memories of pastel confections sewn into frilly dresses, shiny white patent leather shoes, and a matching bonnet or hair bow. Each year, I waited in eager anticipation for Easter Sunday to dawn so I could wear my Easter dress to church. Of course, the Easter Bunny featured a lot in my expectations for a few of those years, but memories of egg hunts and baskets dim compared to my recollection of dressing up. My excitement culminated with our arrival at church. The congregation resembled a garden of beautiful flowers in pastel shades. We complimented and admired each other and preened like peacocks. After a joyous, celebratory worship service, my family went to the Easter buffet at The Clemson House (it was a nice hotel back then, not a dorm), and later we returned home where Dad memorialized our special day in photographs