Chefs: master non-verbal communication and watch your careers soar

In the latest Academy seminar, chief stewardess and butler Marta Presciutti explained why in hospitality, it’s what we don’t say that counts.

How much do we say without words on a day-to-day basis and how can non-verbal communication skills help us to achieve our goals at work?

This was the subject of the latest Academy seminar, Non-verbal communication in hospitality, which, as with the rest of the Academy’s educational program, was available exclusively to members in the Academy’s private Facebook group.

Leading the seminar was Marta Presciutti, a chief stewardess and butler in the super yacht industry, and an ambassador for the Alma culinary school in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. In a presentation, Presciutti, who has worked in some of the world’s best restaurants with chefs such as Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal and Gualtiero Marchesi, explained how to use body language to project a confident, trustworthy persona, and how to build successful leadership skills and self-belief.

“Know what you’re good at, the value you provide and act in a way that conveys that to those around you,” said Presciutti.

Discussing the key elements of body language, she discussed the importance of non-verbal cues such as maintaining good eye contact and respecting personal space, when dealing with colleagues or customers, and included advice for those occasions when chefs may have to deal with guest feedback directly in the dining room. “We’ve got to pay attention to what we’re saying, but most importantly, what we’re doing,” she said.

Presciutti also discussed her fascination with great leaders and how they will often hire people that are more knowledgeable and competent than them in certain areas whilst also maintaining a “learning mindset."

Her presentation was followed by a live Q&A with the members, during which she discussed topics such as how to make a great first impression at a job interview and her own experiences of applying non-verbal communication techniques.

The seminar was part of the Academy’s ongoing commitment to nurturing the next generation of culinary talent through its educational program and connecting the best young chefs in the world with successful and influential figures in the industry.

Recent notable persons to lead seminars include chefs Andreas Caminada, and Manu Buffara and Ana Roš.

Photo: Getty Images

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