While you are studying and have not yet started your professional hospitality career, you need to take advantage of the university environment and support system to learn as many transferable skills as possible.
Best way to learn anything is to practise doing it.
As I share with you the 4 Essential Business Skills you need, I will give you examples of things you can do right now, at university, to learn and develop those skills.
4 Essential business skills you need to have
Creating and delivering presentations
But before we dive into them, let’s step back and look at the big picture.
At the bottom of it all lies communication. It’s all about getting the right message across to the right people, at the right time.
What is communication?
According to Dictionary.com, communication is:
“the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs”.
It is the process of passing information from one source to another via written words, spoken words, images, or other visual formats.
Here is a great article on that if you want to read further on communication.
Everything is communication and communication is everything.
That said, let's start with the one that most people take for granted: writing emails.
Email is essentially the main communication channel at work these days, with both your colleagues and guests, which means that you need to know how to use it correctly.
The 3 things you need to know to write a good email:
Who are you writing to?
What are you trying to say?
What do you want the person receiving the email to do?
Yes, it’s that simple, yet it’s easy to get it wrong. Let’s look into it.
The first step is the key to formulating an email. You need to know how the person likes to receive information to be able to get the response you want.
This is the most important part and if you are not sure and have no one to ask, be polite, respectful, and provide extra information.
The second step is to be clear in your subject line and your email body what the email is about.
The subject lines are tough to write, they need to be clear and brief. Enough to understand what the email is about and if it worth opening.
If your headline is not clear, the email may not even be opened!
Start your email strong with the key message of why you are writing this email in the first place. The reader needs to understand what you want or what the issue is straight away. Don’t dwell too long on describing things (or if you have to, present the information in an organised matter).
What to do
Finally, the recipient needs to be able to quickly scan the email and identify what you want them to do next. If it is not clear, it is unlikely that you will get what you want.
You will be left frustrated with them, without understanding why they are not being helpful.
Consider these examples:
[URGENT] Issue with content delivery is delaying campaign launch
Hi Boss name,
When trying to upload content to the web for the launch of the campaign, we encountered an issue which is going to cause a delay for the launch. The issue is… We are investigating the cause…. We are informing the stakeholders…
This may delay the launch of the scheduled campaign, we don't know by how long.
On top of what is being done to fix this, I suggest we do… Do you agree?
Let’s review this:
I know my boss doesn’t have much time for email so I make sure that my subject line has a clear topic they can identify when scanning their inbox.
The body of the email goes straight into the point: the issue in question and what impact it has. My boss needs to understand the challenge.
At the end, I clearly outline what I need my boss to do.
Make sure to have agreed to established etiquette, you shouldn’t send the same email to your colleagues, your boss, or a guest. Always consider cultural differences and boundaries.
Provide relevant information for the recipient.
Here are a few more examples of email subject lines for other situations.
[FYI] Q1 Report of guest feedback at The City hotel
[ACTION] Feedback on the copy for the Christmas newsletter
The use of the brackets [ ] is my personal preference in case of urgency, but it depends on who you are writing to.
In the following example, I am asking a colleague for their point of view.
Breakfast overflow on weekends
Hi Colleague Name,