“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” This quote from the American historian and philosopher, Will Durant, sets a timely tone for the upcoming new year and your resolution to become the best version of you.

You should not have a one-and-done expectation about the concept of excellence. It is, in fact, something you must practice every day. You can achieve excellence in a particular area, but then it’s important to be working continually to improve other aspects of your professional and personal lives.

In striving to be the best version of you in 2019, our advice is for you to select three areas in which you can make excellence a habit.

Here are some suggestions to get you thinking:

Become a better listener. To do this, you must engage in active listening, which requires your highest degree of involvement. This is an important habit to incorporate because a great portion of your job exists in helping others with their vacation plans or to solve an occasional travel problem. Here are some specific tips you can use to make active listening a habit:

  • Give appropriate and supportive feedback by paraphrasing the speaker’s comments, asking questions and using supportive nonverbal signals to let your clients and coworkers know you’re listening, you understand them, and you care about their messages.
  • Don’t prepare rebuttals to the speaker’s points until you’ve heard the entire message; in other words, don’t be an ambusher.
  • Work on increasing your attention span by mentally repeating the words you hear and not daydreaming.
  • Listen for feelings, facts, and ideas by focusing on changes in inflection, volume, and tone of the speaker’s voice.
  • Stay alert by using fluid gestures, animated facial expressions, and upright posture.

Strengthen your social online visibility by becoming more findable. In a recent Travel Institute Friday Five column, social media marketing expert Catherine Heeg recommended that you:

  • Double your efforts by including social sharing buttons at the bottom of your blog. These tools provide people with the opportunity to share your blog with their social friends on a variety of platforms.
  • Leverage your blog by automatically sharing it to Facebook. Therefore, each time a new blog post of yours goes live, you won’t have to worry about creating a Facebook post for it. 
  • Embed Facebook posts, Instagram images, SlideShares, Google +, YouTube, Pinterest Pins, and Tweets into your blog and even into some e-newsletter applications. When you embed directly into a blog post, you’ll show and tell people what they’ll find when they follow you. They may not have realized you were on their favorite social site until they see it embedded in your blog or newsletter.
  • Use innovative integration. Create a Facebook post inviting people to follow you on Twitter or Pinterest; tweet about your latest Pinterest board; invite your Instagram followers to subscribe to your YouTube channel.
  • Take creating and posting videos to your social sites one step further by creating a short video showing people why they need to follow and fan your social pages. Consider creating a short video showcasing your top destinations, ships, or adventures. 

Improve your business writing skills. Before actually sitting down to create a business letter or email, be sure to complete all the necessary research and planning. Then you are ready to write your message. To make your writing compelling and effective, incorporate the five Cs:

  • Conciseness means writing the message in as few words as possible. A concise message is not necessarily brief, but it does avoid excess words, redundancies, and long words when short ones would suffice.
  • Clarity, the ability to write clearly, is one of the most noticeable characteristics of a good writer. Clarity can be improved by avoiding jargon and by using specific and concrete terms whenever possible.
  • Completeness involves presenting all the facts your reader will need to understand and respond. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes and answer in advance any questions that person might have.
  • Courtesy means showing consideration of your reader’s interests and feelings using a professional demeanor. You can do this by focusing your attention on the reader rather than on yourself and by choosing positive language over negative language whenever practical.
  • Correctness means not only that the facts and information you’re providing are accurate but also that grammar, spelling, and punctuation are error-free.

Whatever New Year’s resolutions you choose, be sure to practice them until your excellence becomes a habit. And we are here to help and support you along the way.

For more learning, enroll in The Travel Institute’s Certified Travel Associate program.