We've all heard it and most of us probably use it. And while "guys" generally doesn't literally mean "men", it's still important to consider language when greeting groups of people.
The greetings that follow are much more "gendered" than "guys" - and can be risky if one or more of the people in the group is transgender or gender nonconforming.
- "Hey Girls!"
- "What can I get for you ladies?"
- "How are you doing tonight, gentlemen?"
Imagine a situation where a group approaches a host stand at a restaurant and the host opens with, "Good evening, ladies!" - yet one of the group is a trans man or non-binary. That guest will probably feel quite uncomfortable. In fact, one of our survey respondents shared, "As a trans man, I've been called "ma'am" or included in a greeting of 'ladies' when with my wife, and it makes me want to never return to that establishment. Using gender-neutral terms can be more comfortable for everybody."
What's a more successful approach?
The best approach is to keep language neutral. Here are some better greetings in that same scenario where a group approaches a host stand:
- "Hi everybody!"
- "What can I get for you folks?"
- "How can I help you?"
Language matters, and offending guests - even accidentally - can be a costly mistake. Training employees to make a simple change to use non-gendered language can immediately create an atmosphere where everyone feels welcome - and minimize the risk to your brand.