As I was enjoying the golden services in a premier airline, being involved in training and development, I cannot help but watch and analyze, and ask the question, “What are the critical skills required to be a first-class airhostess”. As I was observing the interactions between crews and passengers, I was convinced that, communication skill is the answer.
This the basic skill required for those young girls and guys who aspire to become a airhostess or flight attendant. If you are one of them, a reading in this subject will benefit you, not only in the career as a cabin crew, but also in your other endeavors. As an airhostess, you will be in continuously interact and communication with the passengers. Sometime, we tend to think that communication is what we utter or speak, but actually it is much more than that, it refer to the whole process of sending the messages and what the other person (recipients) perceived. As a cabin crew or airhostess we are constantly serving the passengers. At all time our words and behavior are being continuously monitored by the customers. Similarly, if you were being interviewed for the position of a Cabin Crew, you must demonstrate your competency in this area. If you don’t make a positive impression on the interview panel, most likely you will not get to be a airhostess.
The Different Types of Communications. Of course there are many classification of communication, but we are not indulging in an academic discussion. You many simply divide it into Verbal, Nonverbal and Written. However for our daily dealings with the passengers, the verbal and non-verbal is more critical. The written communication, although important within your organisation, it should not be practised with your passenger.
Verbal Communication With the verbal communication, please consider these three items: – tone of our voice – choice of words – timing
Tone of voice: It will be obvious to a passenger, when you sound annoyed or angry, whether you actually are or not is not important, how what is perceived is significant. The passenger will not feel positive towards your and your airline. Do be careful not to be boosting and putting yourself too high. Sometime you may feel that the passenger is asking a very stupid or sarcastic questions, But Sarcasms is not for cabin crew, it is the biggest turn off for the passengers and most people. Actively listen to what the passenger has to say and respond to it and show you are interested, friendly but professional at the same time. We should never make our passenger feel little or embarrassed. Do not be bossy in your responses. The same is for us during interview’ Practise these skills as they may not be the natural thing for you.
It’s also true that the tone of your voice is important although hard for us to gauge it personally. May be you can ask your friend’s opinion on how “pleasant” your voice is. May be you try to record it on the tape and listen to it. Try varying your tone and pitch.
CHOICE OF WORDS, Back in the villages, the term uncles or unties are acceptable and even welcomed. Never use it in flight or interview, use the formal terms… Mister, Madam..Sir. Do remember that words had the cultural significance. Always show respect and put your passengers in high position and you are there to give the best service.
THE TIMING is very important. There are time when the passengers just want to be left alone. The important thing is for you the crew to know when to give the service and when to leave them alone. In an airline, the management had received constant complaints from the passengers, that they were not given time to alone, being awake to be served breakfast or dinner…etc.
Non Verbal Communication, Choice of dress. This is a topic by itself. Please spend time read articles about dress and make-up to get some more detail.
Eye contact. This is another area with cultural implication. The Eastern culture tend to put lower value to this, especially ladies are expected to be modest and not to be looking straight at another man. Play is by the ear. Different culture is different. your eye contacts show interest. Do not over do it, as you might be accused as rudely staring.
Body Language Body language is unknowingly to be the most significant message that we are sending. How we say our words affect the listeners more than the actual word. Be careful as gestures are interpreted differently with various cultures. You supposed to be professional. Do not lean against the wall or fold your arms. I saw it on a some flight. To show interest, lean forward, but not too much. If the other person is shorter, bend down so that you are at the same level as the person you are talking to. Turn your whole body to face the passenger and not just your neck. Your posture is critical as it send different messages to the passengers.