Dear Goodwill Gail,
Several times over the last few months, our unit has gotten short notice from someone announcing plans to attend our unit meeting. The person was not invited, so it caught us by surprise. Here’s our dilemma: A department chairperson or other dignitary calls a day ahead of a meeting to say they are coming to visit us. The person was not invited to attend, and the agenda was already set and full. What do we do now? Do we have to forget about the agenda? Can we conduct business as usual? How do we put our best foot forward when we haven’t had time to prepare?
How to Prepare
Dear How to Prepare,
Your frustration is understandable. Your unit members have worked hard on your agenda, and this unplanned visit could extend the time of the meeting or change its focus. You don’t need to scrap the agenda you planned; however, you should find a way to include the guest.
It’s best to take a positive approach to this situation. Don’t think of the guest as a burden — think of him or her as an asset. Isn’t it great someone wants to visit your unit? Take it as a compliment that someone thought of your group and wants to join your meeting. Isn’t that better than being ignored? How would your unit members feel if no one ever stopped in for a visit? Look at this situation as an opportunity, not an inconvenience. Yes, you need to make adjustments to accommodate the guest, but you may find that the adjustments were worth it. Here’s some advice on how to handle the request:
Your guest will understand you had a short time to prepare for their visit. They don’t expect you to do something special in their honor.
In the Spirit of Service Not Self,
Need some advice on how to approach conflict within the American Legion Auxiliary? Send your questions to pr@ALAforVeterans.org with the subject line “Goodwill Gail.” We’ll create a pen name for you so that you remain anonymous. Talk soon!
This article was first published in the November 2019 Auxiliary magazine.
In the spirit of Service, Not Self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad. For God and Country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace and security.