One of the first things I learned in French was how to introduce and greet people.If I were introduced to an older woman, I could respond with, “Je suis très heureuse de faire votre connaissance” (“I’m very happy to make your acquaintance”). It’s quite a mouthful. I memorized and used it once in Belgium when my sister-in-law introduced me to a person about my own age. They both chuckled. My sister-in-law explained that the phrase was rather old fashioned and overly formal.The more common response is enchantée (f) or enchanté (m). It’s such a pleasure to meet someone and respond with enchanté (literally, “enchanted” or “delighted”). The French know how to affirm, don’t they? They’ve built into their customs this validating, affirming, flattering response: enchantée.Makes me smile.Here’s someone demonstrating its pronunciation:TheHighCalling.org invites readers to join the book club conversation over the next few weeks as we read through Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment. This week we were to read and post on the first two chapters.So far Guy seems to be focusing on how to be enchanting. He recommends simple ways to make oneself more likable, like learning the ideal handshake and grinning big enough to engage the wrinkle-inducing orbicularis oculi muscle. It’s simple advice that goes a long way.My first job out of college had me doing a variety of tasks including answering phones. The owner of a large manufacturing plant often called to speak with someone and one day kindly urged me to smile when I answered the phone. “People can hear your smile when you talk,” he said. “It makes a difference. Try it.”Assuming I must have sounded dull and disinterested, I was embarrassed. But I thanked him for his advice and tried it out.He was right. From that point on, I received many comments about how chipper and pleasant I sounded on the phone. It was as if with the smile I communicated the same positive, affirming feeling as enchanté. Listen for it yourself—you can hear a person’s smile (or lack thereof), and it makes all the difference when doing business or simply chatting with a friend. You feel like the person on the other end of the line is delighted to be talking with you—enchanted, even.While I hope to be a sincere, affirming, winsome—or, to use Guy’s term, enchanting—person, I also find myself thinking about being enchanted. Now, I don’t mean that in a gullible sense; rather, how can I delight in what God has made and given?The look of anticipation on the face of my kids as they watched me unwrap my Mother’s Day gift? Enchanting.The royal blue pansy nodding in the planter from my mom? Enchanting.Yesterday’s shimmering sunset dropping behind silhouetted trees; free loaves of Panera bread; Bonne Maman Four Fruit jam; the book of Ruth read in one sitting; magenta magnolia blooms; freshly mowed grass……all so simple, so delightful, so enchanting.This life of expectancy and openness incites wonder and gratitude.The more I think about enchantment, the more I find myself wandering in this direction: toward seeing the world full of potential and beauty; toward looking people in the eye and making sure they believe that I am really and truly enchanted to meet them, to know them, to engage in conversation.Enchanté, mes amis.Grab a copy of Enchantment and join the book club discussion at TheHighCalling.org.
Last night I attended a book club.Their December selection was Not So Fast, and the group invited me to join them for discussion!It was a lot of fun to be with such a vibrant, intelligent, and gracious group of ladies.I’ve hoped that Not So Fast will prompt many such discussions among groups, friends and families, as people analyze whether or not their pace of life is healthy and sustainable over the long haul. I love hearing readers wonder out loud if their choices really reflect their values, their goals, and their concept or definition of “success.”If your book club or women’s group ever chooses to read Not So Fast together, I’d be happy to join you. It’s fun to hang out in person, but if you’re far from Indiana, I’m game to join your discussion via Skype.Before the meeting I had dinner with three of the group members. One of them proposed that we pose a question to the group. Unfortunately, we talked about so many things that we didn’t get around to asking the question.It’s simple, though, and a good one. I thought I’d pose it to you:This Christmas, as schedules grow more hectic and shopping threatens to consume …What do you want to be sure not to miss?
Peace ornament a gift from the group. Photo by Ann Kroeker.
Visit NotSoFastBook.com to learn more about Ann’s new book.