We snow skied, we hiked, we played the slots, we ate a lot, and we even saw the Star Wars movie -- welcome to the Hardegree Family Vacation, 2018! Last week, we visited beautiful South Lake Tahoe for a quick but fun trip - we love frequent flyer miles! Although I have more than a few blogs about the trip and “family” communication strategies to share at a later date, today’s blog is about how effectively our AirBNB host communicated before, during, and even after our visit. But first - a little story - you knew it was coming … After a visit to the Houston SPCA with my dog-loving brother and sister-in-law, my parents adopted a new dog, Rusty. He’s a five year old mix of some sort and seems to be pretty independent but loving, necessary qualities that meet my parents’ needs at this point. But, my mom is having great difficulty communicating with Rusty. When he comes back into the house, he stands beside her waiting. She’s tried giving him a treat, petting him, using affirming words, even offering him a toy, but nothing seems to completely satisfy him. After a few minutes, he moves on, but my mom is frustrated that she can’t figure out what Rusty wants or needs. If only Rusty could use his words to talk to my mom. Of course Rusty can’t use his words - he’s a dog, but life could be so much easier if everyone would “use your words” to communicate.
Now back to our vacay - from the moment I made the reservation for the condo, our host began “using her words” to share detailed information about the condo, the area, the process, and even about herself. From the first email introducing herself and sharing not only how much she loved the condo and the area but also sharing that she wanted to do whatever she could to make our trip easy and fun to subsequent emails confirming our details and letting us know of some changes in the scheduling to a very detailed email sharing particulars about the condo and suggestions and recommendations about local businesses and restaurants - our host truly helped our trip run more smoothly allowing us to have more fun and less worries! But the “words” didn’t stop at the emails -- in the condo, cabinets and drawers were labeled with contents, short notes shared hints and tips about appliances, and a bulletin board spilled over with information about the condo and surrounding area. She also created a scrapbook with even more information including phone numbers and directions. During the trip, she continued to email me offering to help with any questions or concerns, and after our visit, she welcomed my suggestions to make the condo even better for the next visitors. In our world of texting and tweets, less seems to be better, but there are times when “using your words” (and I mean lots of words) can more effectively communicate. Although some of the words shared by our host may be common sense, and I’m pretty sure I could have just opened the cabinets and drawers to see the contents, her words made my vacation a little easier because I didn’t have to figure things out. I know, I know - in previous blogs I’ve preached about concisely communicating, but there are times both professionally and personally that we all need to use more of our words. For that big project, offer both a concise summary and a detailed plan of action. Have multiple people take notes during a meeting so that one person can take detailed notes on one topic and make those detailed notes available for anyone to access. In emails, concisely share an overview but offer links and attachments to provide more details. etc Strategies believes that you should “use your words” to more effectively communicate. Sharing more details can avoid confusion and misunderstandings and increase productivity, safety, and morale.
So if you have any ideas about what Rusty may want, please “use your words” and let me know. And if you are visiting South Lake Tahoe any time soon, email me for information about a great condo and even greater host! And thanks for letting me “use my words” in these blogs!