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5 Love Languages Applied to Your Business

What a funny thing love is. We fall into love, we fall out of love. We do crazy things in the name of love. Libraries could be filled with books on the topic, wars have been fought over it. We make signs telling us to live, laugh, love.


In a single day, we can claim to LOVE a list of really random things.


For instance, I love:

  • Queso.

  • My dog (Calvin).

  • Texas.

  • Running.

  • My children.

  • Nurturing my plants.

  • My job.




How can one word be used to express our feelings towards such a variety of objects?


We love activities, ideas, animals, nature, and people. According to Phoebe Buffay, Ross loves love so much he would probably marry it! Though, she may have been drunk when she said that.


Since love is such an important component of our humanity, it makes sense that it would also have a place in our business. While we may not LOVE our clients, customers, and colleagues, we should at a minimum CARE about them and treat them with kindness.


Love (or in this case, care) is inherently emotional, fiery, and passionate. Deep, lasting love combines reason with those emotions. It’s authentic and disciplined.


These attributes of love: reason, emotion, authenticity, and discipline, are also exercised in our business. It's no stretch to apply our understanding of love or care to our business and our customers.


Loyal customers are the result of the relationships built by the brand on an emotional level.


There's a good chance you’ve at least heard of Dr. Gary Chapman and his book The Five Love Languages. While I believe this book has its limits, it does make for a tidy outline and summary of my inspiration for you.




Words of Affirmation


The word encourage means to inspire courage.


How can you compliment and inspire courage within your business? By first building trusting relationships and alleviating fear. Your customers, your employees, your suppliers, and anyone in your list of stakeholders, has a relationship with you.


No matter the scope or depth, a relationship exists. What kind of relationship they have with you, is mostly up to you. Do they trust you? Do they respect you? Are they invested in you and your business?


Your words will hold no weight if you are not first trusted and respected.





Build relationships with a foundation of trust and respect, then use your words to compliment and encourage. Your words are powerful, therefore they must also be genuine.


Authentic compliments and encouragement are the result of your ability to identify a need and address it effectively. Words of affirmation and encouragement can be a very powerful tool to motivate and uplift the people around you.


Quality Time


When it comes to Quality Time, Dr. Chapman is careful to clarify that quality time means “giving someone your undivided attention”.


This love language is about wholehearted, focused attention on the other person. It’s fostered through intentional conversation where both people participate in getting to know each other in meaningful ways.


It’s not small-talk, gossip, or “shop” talk.


Quality time is not quality unless it’s done with a positive attitude. People can sense fake or negative from a mile away.


The underlying human needs being met here are friendship and sympathy or empathy.





While you may not become friends with clients or other stakeholders, you absolutely MUST empathize with their pain points to be successful in serving them.


In your business, this means giving others respect and courtesy by focusing your attention on them when you’re in their presence. Not staring at your phone, sitting in awkward silence, or catching up on emails. You need to take the time to talk to them, do a task together, or work side-by-side.


Dr. Chapman provides 5 practical tips for successful quality time:

  1. Maintain eye contact.

  2. Focus on the person you are talking to.

  3. Listen for the expression of feelings.

  4. Observe body language.

  5. Refuse to interrupt.


Another important component of quality time is your ability to express yourself. Communication is 2-way.


Before you can express yourself to another person, you must first know yourself.


This can be a little terrifying. Learning to know ourselves means being honest about the good, the bad, and the ugly. It means digging deep, getting dirty, and going to dark places. Find a trusted mentor like a spiritual advisor, a mental health specialist, or loved one to help navigate this very personal journey.


Receiving Gifts


Gifts are a cross-cultural, visual expression of our appreciation for another person.


They can be small; seemingly insignificant to others. A ticket stub from a favorite movie may look like trash to an outsider, but representative of a cherished event in the hand of the memory holder.


At their core, gifts are meaningful because of the thoughtfulness put into them and the emotions they elicit, not necessarily for their material value.


You can also gift your time, your presence, and your actions to people. Don’t limit your understanding of the expression to only material items.


Caution should be exercised when applying this love language to the business world. Most organizations have very specific guidelines for the giving and receiving of gifts. This is to minimize the appearance of impropriety and limit the possibility of bribery.


The act of giving someone a gift can be as simple as grabbing them a coffee on the way to work, a plant on a special occasion, or a card of congratulations following an achievement.


Exercise this expression of care within the confines of your organization’s guidelines.


Acts of Service


Service comes down to our ability to fulfill or satisfy the needs of another person. It’s doing things you know someone would appreciate you doing for them. Service to another requires thought, planning, time, effort, energy, and most importantly a positive spirit.


In business, you already provide a service. Even if you are a product based business, services are an important part of your system.


How do you provide extra services to demonstrate care to your customer? The answer is in the question! Customer service.





Service is about how you treat customers, how quickly you resolve problems, how attentive you are to their pain points, and how willing you are to listen to them.


Simple steps like the presentation of your product can be an extra act of service. Gift wrapping instead of a plastic bag, an added ribbon or bow, or a thank you card with a 10% off the next visit can all go a long way in setting you apart and demonstrating your care.


As a leader in a small business, acts of service can go a long way in improving the morale of your employees. Providing them with donuts once a month, stocking bathrooms with quality paper products, and rolling up your sleeves to help with heavy workloads are all examples of ways you can serve others in the workplace.


Physical Touch


Here's the fun one right? The one you were certain should NOT be used in a business environment. You’re correct there. This section will be more about what not to do when it comes to physical touch.


Physical touch is literally a “touchy” subject. In the business world, I would not advocate for physical touch beyond a handshake. Anything beyond a handshake wades into dangerous waters.


Something I want you to consider in this section - physical touch is a powerful communicator. Our bodies and our space are very personal to us.


This means physical touch communicates hostility as well as affection. Also, we don’t have to even make physical contact with someone to communicate physically. This is because we all have an invisible “bubble” around us. We know instinctively when someone has entered that space.


When someone respects your physical space, you feel safe and secure. When your personal space is violated, you feel anxious and disrespected.


If you try to pass through a doorway and someone places their body in the way so you have to brush past them or you cannot move through at all, you feel threatened.


If you work behind a counter or desk and someone leans across it to get closer to you, this could indicate their desire to frighten you or their desire to create a more intimate conversation with you.


Most companies have pages and pages of policies dedicated to preventing workplace harassment situations. Be intentional with your body, your hands, and physical touch.


What CAN be considered in this section, is our body language as we communicate with others. Pay attention to the way someone’s body reacts to the things you say and do.


Do they lean in slightly to listen more closely as you speak? They’re probably interested in what you’re saying. Do they cross their arms at what you’ve just said? They’re possibly hostile to what you’ve said or they’re becoming bored with you.





If you’re talking with someone and they lean away or take a step away from you, they may feel you’re in their “bubble” and are trying to create space. Respect that space.


Just know that the powerful positive pull we have with physical touch, can be just as negative given the situation.


Feeling Known


These five love languages all boil down to feeling KNOWN.


A gift is no good unless it's the type of gift the receiver would actually want. An act of service is only meaningful if the service is needed. Physical touch communicates love or care only when used with respect and consideration.


This means you must first get to know the person you are communicating with. You must build a relationship and earn trust. This is as true in business as it is in our personal relationships.


You must get to know your customer in order to provide a product or service they actually want. Get to know the people in your business’ sphere of influence. Listen to them, know them (pain points, values, needs), and respect them.


I love getting to know you better! Schedule a free initial consultation with me to see if we’d be a good fit for growing your business.




Reference:

Chapman, G. D., & Bell, J. S. (1995). The Five love languages: How to express heartfelt commitment to your mate, now with Comprehensive Study Guide. Northfield Publishing.

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