You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Archive for May, 2013










These tips may seem very obvious to most of us, but how many times have you been the guest in an audience at either a social or business event and struggled to hear what the speaker was saying?  I know I have.  Often.  I’m not sure why anyone would continue holding a conversation with others once a speaker has been introduced.  Usually this happens when the speaker is only going to be making a few remarks, like welcoming the guests to the event, expressing some edicts that may be necessary, or honoring certain special guests in the audience.

Perhaps it is because it is expected that it will be a “brief speech”, some guests feel no need to pay attention.  Usually, when there is a keynote or somene sharing for thirty to ninety minutes; they seem to have our undivided attention – because more than likely, we are learning something and find the content important.  However, it does not matter for how long the speaker will speak or what the content of the speech is; respect should be shown regardless.

Here are five easy ways that we can show respect to any speaker:

  1. Actively listen– Your conversation at a mixer, seminar, fundraiser, reception is an important social tool and one in which is necessary for a pleasant and successful event.  However, the minute someone picks up a microphone (or heaven forbid – strikes a glass multiple times) to make an announcement, you should graciously discontinue speaking.  It’s as easy as saying “Oh, hold that thought, let’s listen to the speaker.”  Active listening requires focus on, and eye contact with, the speaker. 
  2. Show interest – Nodding in approval (or disapproval depending on the subject matter), applauding at certain key points, and even “oooohing and aaaaahing” over certain remarks, demonstrations, or exhibits is all a way of showing the speaker that you are engaged with his/her content.  Depending on the energy or style of the event, it’s perfectly fine to interject a humorous comment…if the speaker seems to be welcoming a more interactive speech.  That is not to say one should “heckle” and continually interrupt the speaker; but the occasional comment, question, or laughable moment in a casual environment, is usually well-received by the speaker, particularly if it motivates the crowd or encourages them to listen.
  3. Stop eating and drinking – Again, if it is a brief speech during a cocktail hour or mixer reception, refraining from chewing, clanking ice in a glass or utensils on the plate isn’t going to cause you to starve to death.  It is very distracting to the speaker (unless of course it is a “dinner speaker”) to speak to a sea of chewing mouths or compete with people walking to the buffet or the trash can to discard their plate/napkin etc.
  4. Remember to applaud –  as soon as the speaker has closed their speech, either by announcing so, or by answering the last question asked.  Don’t let the “uncomfortable silence” take place in that first few seconds.  Take the lead and start the applause to encourage others who may be unsure if or when they should applaud.
  5. Thank the speaker – Take a few minutes to go up to the emcee or speaker/s and thank them for their contribution to the event.  Even if it’s basic announcements, a simple “I enjoyed listening to you, thank you for the nice introductions of key members.”, or “Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the community today.  I was very moved by your comment on…..”

If everyone in the audience applied these simple tips for showing respect, the experience would be more enjoyable for all in attendance.  I hope the next time you attend an event, these suggestions come to mind and you perhaps put yourself in the “speaker’s shoes” to see if you would like the same from your audience.

Very graciously,




Since I am being contacted to share specific posts from other weblogs, such as this one from, I am happy to re-post the below article in the interest of my readers.  I hope you enjoy it and are looking forward to a fun-filled summer!

“As summer approaches, the party invites will begin to appear. The first major celebration of the season is generally an Independence Day bash, and you want to make sure you show up with an appropriate gift for the hostess. Finding a great gift doesn’t have to be a chore, though. Consider who your hostess is, and the things she likes or things in which she is interested. If you know your hostess fairly well, you will probably be able to decide on a gift she would enjoy without much fuss. No matter who your hostess is, though, there are some gifts that are sure to be appreciated.”

patriotic hostess gift

  1. Gift Basket – Remember the fun things you played with as a child on the 4th of July? Fill a basket with sparklers, firecrackers, noise makers and other fun things of past Independence Day celebrations. You may also want to assemble a basket filled with snack items, or wine and high-end beers if your hostess occasionally imbibes. If you decide to create one yourself, think about using patriotic colors and items that are red, white and blue.
  2. Spices and Marinades – Consider an array of unique spices that would beef up a barbecue. There are many types of sauces, marinades and meat rubs that the hostess who loves to grill would enjoy trying. You don’t necessarily need to go to a gourmet store to assemble a tasty collection, either. Larger grocery stores usually have a wide selection of specialty spices, sauces and marinades to choose from.
  3. Grilling Cookbook – Many cookbooks on grilling have recipes that you wouldn’t normally think of using. If your hostess is one who loves to experiment with cooking, look for a book that goes beyond the usual fare. Choose one that has mouth-watering photographs, wrap it in red white or blue and tuck a little flag in the bow.
  4. Flowering Plant– This time of year should provide a vast selection of pretty plants for your hostess. If you know her favorite color, you can choose a plant with flowers in that color. The nice thing about a plant is that it will last longer than cut flowers, and if your hostess has a green thumb, it will be a gift that she will appreciate for a while to come. If the flowering plants don’t grab you, there are a variety of beautiful green plants available, including vines, cacti, ferns and small trees.
  5. Yard Art – Your hostess may enjoy a cute little statue to go in the garden or maybe a banner to go on the porch. There are so many interesting things to choose from. Take your hostess’ personality into account when you are choosing the piece you will give her. She may like a soft wind chime or a sun catcher. Keep her tastes in mind and you’re sure to have a hit on your hands.
  6. Playing Cards – If your hostess enjoys a good game of cards, this will make a perfect gift. Some specialty shops may even have cards that have a patriotic flair to them. Consider getting a couple of sets, one to use at the party and one to use later.
  7. Dessert in a Gifted Dish – Guests usually bring their donation to the party in disposable dishes, or their own dishes which they end up taking home – or forgetting and picking up later. Consider purchasing a pretty dish to make or put a dessert in. You will be contributing to the party and giving your hostess a special keepsake at the same time.
  8. Patriotic Apron – Aprons are making a comeback, and they range from plain to super fancy. If you are creative, you can whip up a cute apron with some patriotic fabric. If not, check out a boutique or a kitchen store.
  9. Wine Glass Charms – In a party situation it’s easy to lose your glass if you aren’t constantly holding on to it. A set of wine charms will make it easy for guests to keep track of their glasses, and your hostess will appreciate your thoughtfulness.
  10. Picnic Basket – A picnic basket is a wonderful gift for the hostess who enjoys outdoor dining. Some picnic baskets are actually baskets, but there are also some that are back-packs. These can get a little pricey, but they make a superb gift if you really want to impress your hostess.

Bringing a gift for your hostess is a gracious thing to do. It shows your appreciation for her efforts. Even if you opt out of bringing a nicer gift, a special bar of soap, scented candle or nice box of stationery or note cards will work well. Your gift is just a small token to say thank you to your hostess.