Matthew: Is there anything you really don't like to eat?
Husband: Sprouts aren't in season, darling.
Matthew: Okay, no peas, olives or sprouts.
Guess what I said to them next?
Matthew: I do ask people to take their shoes off. You might want to think about what socks you wear.
Husband: That is fine. We never wear shoes in our house either.
Notice what I did with the question? I asked them to state a preference. I gave them a say in what took place in the dinner party by inviting them to comment on the food they did'nt like. I showed that I was concerned about their enjoying the occasion.
Having done that, I was then in a strong position to state my own preference, which was for them to remove their shoes.
I think if you invite people over to dinner, this can be a really effective tactic. It is negotiation. By showing initial concern for the guests comfort, your guest will be more willing to respect your need for shoes-off.