I received a good question via email the other day. (Ask your question here). If you have a suggestion to help our reader, please add it to the comments below.
How do I approach an usher who smokes and it smells on her?
I am not the President of the usher board but would like to know the correct way to approach the situation.
Dealing with offensive odors in your volunteers is a pretty sensitive matter. Even human resource directors for corporations have to navigate this one when an employee is consistently malodorous.
Churches that are involved in recovery programs of various kinds may have volunteers who smoke. I remember one church I visited last year where I could smell the sound man from 5 feet distance. He was a recovering addict.
We all have a off day where we forgot some basic principle of hygiene. We might forget to use deodorant. I’m not talking about that accidental oversight. But we are addressing all sorts of smells that habitually follow a person.
Smelly volunteers could be for a variety of habitual reasons:
- Too much cologne.
- Too much perfume.
- Hand creams and lotions.
- Bad Breath.
My approach is to make smelly church greeters a topic of greeter training.
Reconnect a greeter’s self presentation to the vision of welcoming visitors and members.
- ALL strong odors,
- Bad breath,
- Hand creams etc.
Present all strong smells as a hindrance when serving. Mention that many people cannot tolerate strong odors due to allergic reactions.
To serve the best as an usher or church greeter, we all should be aware of our personal care habits in order to be a positive influence our guests.
Surrender personal habits for the sake of not accidentally driving visitors away.
I think a good leader who can cast that vision will bring people along side to fulfill that vision to the point of surrendering personal habits.
A first hand example:
I often speak of cologne:
- if I can smell you from 10 feet – that’s too much.
- If your smell stays with me after a hug – that’s too much.
- If I still smell you after you have left the room, that’s too much.
We had a gentleman visiting our church who wears too much cologne. It lingers on me after I shake his hand. If I gave him a hug of greeting, the smell transferred to my clothes. I have to change seats if he is within 5 feet of me because my eyes begin to water and my throat begins to itch.
Granted, he is a visitor and not a volunteer. But imagine your visitor being repelled by an overly smelly greeter.
Don’t let our visitors be bothered by smells that are unnecessary.
Image credit: jvwphotography / 123RF Stock Photo
Your Turn: Help a Greeter Ministry
I’m not the only one that has addressed this. I’d like to hear from you. What advice would you give to help guide greeter and usher volunteers into better hygiene?
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