Alongside my business, I teach part-time at university. At the beginning of term there is always the ‘cheesy’, getting-to-know-you activities that help develop class cohesion and foster a team atmosphere. My first-year undergraduate students, fresh out of high school, come with all the enthusiasm in the world… until I make them sit across from a partner, stare into their eyes and tell them all about the wonder they see in them (someone they have known, or rather only caught sight of, for all of one minute). They are asked to sit in front of a near perfect stranger for 30 seconds and wax lyrical about all their positive traits.
The response I get to this is always a roll of the eyes, a wriggle of discomfort in their seat and quite often a request or two to sit out of the game.
And then they start…
They begin a little shy and reserved with the compliments, extending them perhaps to the person’s nice, shiny hair or the fact they appear trustworthy or have a nice nature. Then by the end of their 10th person, they cannot shut up.
We start hearing things like, “you seem to be really kind, hold yourself really well, act like nothing can stop you, like your tenacious and have fire in your belly and that you’d be a really great team player and oh, yeah, you look like you have integrity too”. The energy in the air builds and lifts and everyone goes from slouching to sitting upright, from slight frowns to beaming smiles.
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This happens, without fail, every time.
What can we learn from this?
- It may at first ‘feel icky’ to be forthcoming with compliments and words of appreciation, but it gets easier the more we practise.
- No matter who we meet, there is something good that we can appreciate about them.
- And, inevitably, receiving and giving appreciation and compliments makes us feel goooooood.
What can this mean for our businesses?
How would it be if you appreciated more things about more people in and around your business? How could an activity like this translate into success?
Imagine if you paid a single compliment to any number of suppliers, contractors or vendors that you dealt with in your business. How would your relationship with them change? How would the energy be between you shift?
Imagine if you gave positive feedback to each of your clients. How would this affect your relationship with them, and the energy between you?
Not only would this benefit your business relationships, it would also make a difference to your own energy levels and the relationship you have with yourself. It feels good to make someone else feel good. And when your energy is lifted and spirits are high, that translates into more action, more productivity and more efficiency.
Let me tell you about the wonder I see in you: you’re passionate, savvy and professional in your work. Now it’s time to show how much you appreciate others.
Are you conscious of showing your appreciation towards people? Does it affect your energy and relationships? Why not try it and share your results below.