Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Evaluating Your Hosting Experience

When I extend hospitality in my home I spend a lot of time preparing. I clean the bathrooms. I plan the menu and shop for groceries. And I cook the food.

I wonder though if my efforts at hospitality are over after my guests leave and the last dish is washed? Or is there another part in the process that's just as important?

Should I also evaluate me hospitality efforts? Should I "grade" myself (for lack of a better word) after offering hospitality?

Maybe grade is the wrong word since I'm not thinking about a pass or fail kind of thing. I'm thinking more along the lines of going over the experience as a hostess to see what we can learn from it.

For example, as I thought through our recent 4th of July celebration I understood a couple of things about myself and my family better.
  • First, I realized that I need to be more considerate about the different personalities in my household when it comes to offering hospitality.
  • Next, I realized that all the advance prep work I did really helped me enjoy the party and that I should always prepare most of my work ahead of time.
  • Finally, I realized that I prefer talking with my guests to making sure food dishes are full and napkins are available. I really, really, really am not a "behind the scenes" kind of person.
Do you evaluate your hospitality experience? What questions do you ask yourself (or if you are brave, your family)?

Here are a few questions I thought of:
  • Was my guest comfortable? Why or why not?
  • Did my guests enjoy each meal item? Was there an obvious favorite? Was there an item they politely declined?
  • Did the seating arrangement work comfortably?
  • Did my guests feel welcomed and loved?
  • How can I improve the experience next time? What changes can/ should I make?
  • Did my family feel included in the process or neglected?
  • What can I learn about God, myself and my family from this experience?
I'd love to hear your thoughts on evaluating our efforts as hostesses! Please leave them in the comments so we can discuss this together.

4 comments:

  1. Let's see if it works...

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  2. YES! I often find myself awake that very night considering these things. So helpful for the next time. Early on in our marriage when I was really learning a lot I began to keep a Hospitality Journal. I made note of the guests in attendance, what food/drink I served, any decorations or serving dishes that were helpful that I wanted to remember, and also made personal notes about my guests. Notes about my guests included any likes or dislikes I learned in our time together which helped the next time I had the guest over or even gave me ideas for little gifts they might enjoy. When it came to parties I kept notes about how many people attended and how much food we went through. If you have large parties often this is extremely valuable! Finally, I made notes of things that I wanted to do differently the next time. It was a helpful way for me to evaluate and gave me a valuable resource for the future.

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  3. Amy, a Hospitality Notebook is a great idea!! Thank you for sharing. I've never thought to do such a thing. I can see how writing personal notes about your guest would be VERY helpful to for future hospitality opportunities.

    Does anyone else keep a Hospitality Journal or something similar?

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  4. I can't say that I'm a notebook keeper but Jonathan and I spent time dissecting and evaluating each event/dinner/game night/whatever that we host. We're always looking for ways to improve. I think it's important to talk about what worked and what didn't work - and people notice when you improve the situation for them next time! Thinking over what worked and didn't work for your guests is definitely an important part of learning how to practice hospitality. You can't learn unless you try (and maybe even fail)!

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