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.
[…] Ann Kroeker. Writer. Skip to content HomeAboutCorporateEssaysCreativeNot So FastLinksTraditionsNewsSpeed BumpsMediumMegaMiniSupplementalFamily DevotionalsQuiet Times & DevotionalsReading ListsSpeakingContact ← Enchanté […]
Enchante Thank You Note
[…] or sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Not […]
I really appreciate that video, Ann! As a language challenged person, it was so very helpful. I love your former boss’s simple advice to smile when you answer the telephone. I tried it…you’re right! It really makes a difference. Plus, this may be a case of attitude following behavior. Sometimes, you just gotta do it, and when you do, you find you like it. I am enchanted by your beauty goggles. I wanna get me some :).
Love your note–I hope you can test out “enchante” with the next French person you meet!
And YOU already have those goggles, lady. You see beauty even when no one else can see it!
Adrienne @ Whole New Mom says
Thanks for the reminder to smile.
I have been on a number of rough roads, mainly health-wise, recently…and I need to remember what will bless me and others.
I used to be called “smiley” in my 20s. Time to pull out the old habit. I agree with Laura. You just gotta do the right thing.
Hey, “Smiley!” I hope you can bring back your nickname and light up the world. So glad you came to comment–it’s a treat to hear from you!
Hazel I. Moon says
Your precious post left me enchanted. One of the things that companies want to know when I do a mystery shop is: “Did they smile and make good eye contact.” It certainly makes for excellent customer service and leaves the customer enchanted.
Hazel, with every comment you manage to make me smile–maybe we can even “hear” your smile through your words?
I’ve been testing Chick-Fil-A employees. They are all trained to say “My pleasure!” when a customer says “Thank you.” So far, so good. They’ve all done it. I think “My pleasure” has an “enchanted” tone to it, don’t you?
J’aime cet article. It reminds me of the goal of good manners, which is to make other people feel comfortable rather than trying to impress.
Nice…that manners are about the other person. Good way to generalize when passing along reminders to my kids.
Charity Singleton says
Ah, this IS enchanting. I like this dual concept of both being enchanting and enchanted. You’re right – this approach to the world could appear naive. Or, it could also be considered worship, worshipping a creative, generous God.
Can’t wait to start the book.
I don’t know how much Guy will talk about that…it’s just where I drifted today. 🙂 Thanks for your comment, my friend.
I just passed a German language test and it made me want to learn yet another language. French language always impress and I consider learning it next.
For me, I learned about the smiling over the phone to sound pleasant immediately after university when I was reading and searching for materials/advices with regards to how to handle phone interviews or speaking with a prospect employer over the phone. I too learned that I have to smile to sound polite and lively, also that I have stand while speaking because the level of energy is better than when sitting. Also, it helps to use hand gestures. That solved my then mystery of why people shake their head and use too much of gestures (especially when they’re angry) while on the phone when the person at the end of the line doesn’t see it. In fact, they can actually hear them.
Congratulations on your German fluency! I do love French–it’s very pretty and calming in tone.
And thank you for this detailed comment about standing and gesturing while on the phone. I do that very thing! I didn’t stand and gesture when I was the receptionist on my first job, but I do it when I’m at home ALL that time. Now you’ve given me reason to continue!
Hazel I. Moon says
If you were sponsoring a there and back again, I would post my blog of today. Your account of your first job, reminded me of my job just out of High School. They taught me to smile and it was an experience I never forgot. “Smile and the World Smiles with YOU.
Sue Awes says
Ann – I am enchanted! Loved the video, loved the point of view. What a way to see the world! This post came to me like a posy, a poem, a present. Merci!
Your comment has come to me in the same way–a posy, a poem, a present. You’ve dropped this enchanting note right in my lap. Thank you.
Megan Willome says
I think I caught you smiling while you typed this post.
Hi Ann! Just thought I’d drop by and see how you are doing?
Sounds sort of like a manners book updated and with a slight twist. Love the video. Think I will echo her words to a few of those I come across today. My children and/or husband will probably look at me like I am crazy, but what fun it will be.
Hopefully the hearer will leave thinking they have met the most “Enchanted person.” Smile.
Joy of Desserts says
Nice post. Smiling makes such a difference.