Monday, April 26, 2010

Je Ne Sais Quoi: Hospitality

Good morning to you all! I hope this Monday finds you well! I have an exciting week planned for us involving a new dress (or two!), a new friend who just happens to "play" roller derby, and more on our series, je ne sais quoi.

So, to kick-off the week, I want to share about a retreat I attended earlier this month hosted by the kind folks at Group Publishing. I enjoyed three days packed with fun and singing (yes, there was singing) and one crazy episode involving pipe cleaners. And though I could speak about many, many things from the retreat, I want to highlight one very important quality I observed while attending: hospitality.

To say that I was impressed with Group's hospitality would be an understatement. Quite frankly they went above and beyond for the 50-or-so of us women attending the event. For instance, the photos you see above and below were taken during the first evening when the founders/owners of the company had us all over for dinner at their place.

That's right--all 50 of us.

Now, to invite 50 women over for supper is one thing. To cook for all 50 women is another thing entirely.

And to cook supremely tasty food (including tiramisu made from scratch) for all of us is downright amazing! I was blown away by the effort...and the dessert.

The rest of the retreat following this first evening was more of the same. And I won't get into all of the details lest I make you too envious, but I will share some of the lessons I learned about being hospitable.

First: food is key. Hospitality doesn't require tiramisu from scratch, but certainly serving some sustenance when you're hosting friends goes a long way toward making them feel welcomed and at home. I don't care if it is a bowl of chips and some salsa, or a hand-crafted fruit pyramid with chocolate--your guests will thank you if you fill their stomachs.

Two: offer encouragement. I was impressed when the staff at Group took several opportunities during the retreat to encourage the attendants. Some of it was even a little mushy (which makes stoic types like myself fluster a bit).

Frankly I had forgotten how important affirmation is, both in the giving and receiving. Hospitality includes reminding people that not only are they welcomed, but they are also appreciated and special. So don't forget to encourage, even if it gets mushy.

Finally, hospitality involves fun. When we host guests, it is not our job to entertain them at every moment...but it is our job to lighten their load, if only momentarily. Laughter, joyful conversation and games all help to create memories and strengthen relationships. Scheduling fun is as valuable as serving food and making sure guests know where the restroom is--because nothing welcomes people more than laughter.

Food. Fun. And Affirmation. Hosting with these qualities is oh-so je ne sais quoi.

Thanks to Group for a fun week!
To learn more about the publisher, click here.
To learn more about the retreat I attended, click here.


  1. It was fabulous to meet you, Stephanie!

  2. Thank you, Susan! Ditto! (Susan, BTW, was one of our retreat leaders/facilitators--)

  3. That food WAS so delicious--your photos are making me hungry!!

  4. too bad that it was dark by the time the tiramisu came out, or else I definitely would have added those photos to the group!


Blog Widget by LinkWithin