Two nights ago I had the privilege of passing out small candy canes as folks were approaching our church doors to attend a special Christmas production.
My task was to make our guests feel welcome.
I was surprised by the number of folks who were thrilled to receive a little candy cane!
Some responded as if they hadn’t had a candy cane in years and were so excited to indulge in a special treat.
Others welcomed the breath mint.
A few politely passed.
Most of the children bounced up and down, giddy to get a piece of candy.
As I stood between the parking lot and door I was reminded of all the little things we can do when we’re hosting an event that make guests feel welcome.
The next time you’re hosting a women’s ministry event consider briefing your team and your women on these 9 secrets.
9 Secrets to Making Guests Feel Welcome:
1. Have your volunteers wear name tags or badges. Guests will be looking for clear clues on where to go and who to ask if they have questions.
2. Help them find a parking space. Arm your parking team with walkie talkies so they can communicate.
3. Give them prominent parking spaces. I’m not just talking about those marked for guests, though they are nice and needed. Train your members to park further away from the building when you’re hosting an outreach event. Nothing says welcome like a close parking space! You may need to mark additional handicapped spaces.
4. Warmly greet them in the parking lot near the door you want them to enter. Many of them won’t know which door they should enter through.
5. Utilize ushers to help guests find an empty chair, if this might be a crowded event. It’s super awkward to wander around looking for a space to sit.
6. Give them a program. Programs allow you to answer questions guests have such as: Where is the bathroom? Where is your cry room? What else is left in the program? What’s the name of the song we just sung? How can I get more information about your church? It also gives them something to look at while they wait for the event to start. Use this opportunity to tell them about upcoming events and Bible studies. You want them to return – give them reasons to come back soon!
7. Before your event begins tell them where the bathrooms are located and how best to get to them. Make sure they are stocked with extra paper towels and toilet paper. Assign someone on the hospitality team the responsibility of checking and cleaning them during the event as needed. No one likes to use a dirty bathroom, not to mention stopped up toilets…
8. Be prepared with extras – extra programs, extra favors, extra name tags, extra chairs, extra food, etc. Scrambling for anything extra makes your guests feel like they put you out and that you weren’t expecting them.
9. Explain everything. If you’re serving communion explain what will happen. If you want them to stand or sit down, tell them. If you’re going to move to another room explain how they’ll get there and what they need to do when they arrive. Guests feel uncomfortable when they are surprised and when they aren’t sure what is going on.
What other tips do you have for making guests feel welcome?
You may also want to read:
Before Your Next Event
One year ago: Serving in the Operation Christmas Child Processing Center – Part 1
Two years ago: Icebreaker: The Great Christmas Candy Pass