Whether it’s family, friends, employees, or even a stranger that enters your space, our goal is for them to be comfortable. For them to feel like they can let their shoulders down, sink into their chair a little more and relax. Those feelings are what get people to the place where we can fully communicate. Where they feel safe enough to really talk.
The best way to help others get in that mental nook is to engage their senses. We all know there are 5 senses; sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. As my Sunday Offering to you today, I want to give you some ways to create a space that will encourage more communication with the people in your lives.
1. Sight- create a visually pleasing area. This DOES NOT mean clean your house, your office or wherever it is you meet people! This means give them something to look at. A great picture, a magazine, some cool art, a nice book. The goal is to engage their vision. That’s why “coffee table books” were created!
2. Hearing- turn on music. That’s the very best suggestion I have. I love 60’s music. It’s so happy, so catchy and has these great little bells and jingles. Maybe you like soft jazz or 90’s country (I see you, and I love you)… turn it on, friends. Now, I’m not saying “Pump Up The Jams!”… keep it low and subtle. Loud enough to where you may tap a toe and hum along but not so loud that you have to talk over it.
3. Smell- light a candle. Again, the very best suggestion I have. You can also diffuse essential oils, lay out some potpourri or light an incense stick. One of my goals for this year was to find the “signature scent” for our home. The smell that when we walk in, we know we are home. The smell that when others walk in, they feel like they are home. The scent that you catch in a store or as someone passes by and you think “that smells like the Tate’s house.”
4. Touch- get some gadgets. Have some neat one person games, some brain teaser puzzles, a fidget spinner or cube, a koosh ball, a rubik’s cube… anything for them to touch or play with that will allow their hands to be busy. If you have ever been into a therapist or counselors office you may have seen a bowl of fidgety items on their table. These things are proven to provide a distraction or sensory stimulation helping calm your thoughts and promote a relaxing mood.
5. Taste- give them something to eat! Y’all know this is my favorite!!! The easiest thing to do is always have a little bowl of candy on your table. I prefer ginger chews because A. most people have never had them so it’s also a conversation starter B. kids don’t really like them so they won’t eat them all and C. they are good for you… and also they are candy 🙂 I would love to prepare everyone that walks in my door the biggest comfort meal they have ever had but sometimes that isn’t realistic. So candy and a drink are just fine. Another suggestion, that is a more substantial snack would be a simple charcuterie board. Grab a plate or cutting board, throw a handful of nuts, some beef jerky or deli meat, a vine of grapes and a cheese of some sort and you are good to go. Most of these items are things you have around all the time anyways.
I love cozy spaces so I always have pillows and blankets laying around. Even in the summer, it’s sometimes nice to curl up in a blanket and just relax.
Have you ever noticed how many times you meet a friend at a restaurant or a bar or a coffee shop to talk? Think about it a little more now… those places have food/drinks, music, the smell of food or a candle on the table, things to look at on the walls and of course things to touch. Great example… Cracker Barrel! Engaging your senses takes the pressure off of your thoughts and your words. It allows those things to flow more freely. I hope these tips encourage you to create this space for yourself… for your family and your friends and all the others you have in your life. Communication is so important. Let’s do everything we can to help those in our life relax… and let’s get em talking!
Happy Sunday friends,