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Welcoming People

Meeting and greeting people

Most of our chapels and churches have people welcoming arrivals to services. They are the people who make the first impression on a newcomer. So it's important to make them feel welcome. They may feel shy or nervous, so the greeter* should set out to make them comfortable.

  • Say who you are (it's useful to have a name badge).
  • Ask them their name and if it's their first visit.
  • Remember their name, and use it.
  • Hand them a hymn book and make sure they are conducted to a seat.
  • After the service, ask them if they would like coffee if it is served.
  • Ask them how they enjoyed the service, and make sure they know they will be most welcome to come again.
  • Hand them any appropriate literature, including your newsletter or calendar.
  • Introduce them to someone who you know is a good listener, and who can fill gaps in conversation.
  • Ask them if they would be interested in any forthcoming events.
  • Ensure that the person leaves feeling they have been made very welcome in a friendly place, and that their attendance is appreciated.
  • If you don't have a designated greeter, make sure there's someone who will watch out for a newcomer.

Talking about the place of Worship

Many of our chapels and churches are of considerable interest, and one way of spreading the word about Unitarianism is to give talks about your place of worship. This could be to a local heritage society, a women's group, or any number of organisations which are on the lookout for speakers. Obviously, a knowledge and love of your church or chapel, and its history at your fingertips, is the first requirement. Spread the word that a speaker is available among people you know are associated with likely groups. And be ready if they approach your church for a speaker. These are some tips on delivering a really good talk.

  • Check the time and place and be sure you know how to get there in good time.
  • Establish whether a fee is offered, and/or expenses. This can be a good way of raising money for your place of worship.
  • Ask how long you are expected to speak for.
  • Find out the format of the meeting: are there formalities, will you be expected to answer questions after your talk, will you be offered refreshments?
  • Check on the availability of equipment if you are giving an illustrated talk or need a flipchart.
  • Consider your audience. A heritage society will appreciate a well-informed, in-depth talk, a luncheon club will enjoy a more chatty approach.
  • Plan your talk: stick to the well-tried formula of telling them what you are going to say, tell them, then briefly tell what you've said - and keep it to the point.
  • Practise delivering it in front of another person and ask for honest comment.
  • Vary your voice tone and volume.
  • Leave yourself plenty of time on the day to get there unruffled.
  • Dress appropriately for the occasion in something you feel comfortable in.
  • When you are introduced, stand up, take a deep breath, smile, make eye contact - and enjoy it!