Did you know that certain romantic tips can also be applied to the workplace? We’re not saying you should try and date your colleagues and customers by the way! No, what we mean is that some advice from the world of romance is just as relevant when it comes to your career. After all, whether you are on a first date or trying to create a positive atmosphere at work, you are essentially dealing with the same thing: relationships.
So how do your work relationships mirror those of your love life? Read on below to find out:
1. Show genuine interest
Picture the following scenario: you are on a date with Mr or Mrs right. Everything is going great. The table is candle-lit, the wine is perfect and the conversation is engaging. But suddenly your date starts looking above your shoulder. Then to the left. Then to the right. After a few minutes it becomes clear that they’re more interested in the other people in the room than you. How does that make you feel?
Well, the same thing is true for customers and colleagues: they want to feel special. To feel appreciated. And there’s only one way to do it – by showing genuine interest.
Sure it might be easier said than done, but keep that previous date scenario in mind. What should the person do to make you feel like you are facing a true listener? They should ask relevant questions. Consider the answers carefully. Not be superficial in their replies. Acknowledge your problems and praise your accomplishments. They should care more about what you have to say than what they want to say. This is exactly what you should do with your colleagues, clients and customers too.
2. Celebrate The Positive
Look, we’ll be the first ones to admit that long term relationships are hard. They are always a work in progress. But the reason they exist is that at some point there was a magic spark. It’s often the spark you first felt when you began dating. That magic honeymoon period when the other person cannot do anything wrong because you are so enthralled by them.
Remember how it felt to have that special connection for the first time? Well try and remember your first day on the job. You might have been excited or apprehensive. But the chances are that you started with a certain amount of enthusiasm. And just like in dating, nothing is more attractive in a relationship than someone who can celebrate the positive instead of brooding over what’s going wrong.
It is very easy to pinpoint flaws, but harder to find the good things in life. Whether you are on a date or surrounded by your workmates, try and cherish those the things you like about the company, about the job, and of course about the people you work with.
3. Don’t Be Scared To Admit Flaws and Mistakes
Let’s go back to our little date scenario and imagine the person sitting opposite you accidentally knocks the wine glass over. It spills on the tablecloth. But when you start mopping it up and saying “oh well, it doesn’t matter”, they reply “what doesn’t matter?”. You are puzzled. “Spilling a bit of wine, it doesn’t matter,” you reply. “I didn’t spill any wine.”
See how absurd it would be to pretend to be perfect? We are all humans and flaws are just parts of who we are. Admitting you messed up is not something you should be ashamed of, but you should see it as an opportunity to show how much you care about your job.
Unless what you did is unforgivable, the chances are that the people you work with are an understanding bunch. Admit your mistakes: you’ll feel all the better for it and they will value your honesty.
4. Communicate Clearly
Misunderstanding and miscommunication is the number one cause of arguments between couples. Ok, we don’t have the scientific data to back this up, but you know what we mean. Between what I want to say, how I say it, what you want to hear and what you think it means, there is a huge gap where words can quickly take on the wrong meaning.
So do we live with the impossibility of expressing exactly what we mean? Not if you try your best to communicate clearly. And some people are better at it than others, but the good news is that with a little work everyone can do it.
Just think of how much effort you put into every email or text message when you are first getting in touch with someone you care about. Should I add the smiley face or not? Should I start with “hi”, “hello” or “what’s up?” This agonising over every word is because you want to make sure they understand you clearly. Why not do it everyday with your colleagues, clients and customers too!
5. Be Dedicated
Sure it might be worth playing it cool at first. Your date went well and now they want to go and hang out to watch a film or for a stroll in the park. But you’re smart and you don’t pick up the phone straight away. Keep them guessing. Ok, this might work once or twice, but if you do it all the time, they’ll come to a simple conclusion: you are flakey and unreliable.
So just like with romance, you need to put a little effort into work. Attend the odd company meeting. Volunteer to make people coffee. Offer to take some extra work to help colleagues. Go the extra mile with a customer or a client. They will not only be grateful, but will also remember you for it. And if you stay in their mind for the right reasons, we guarantee you this will pay off for your career.
At work just like on a date, you can do two things. You can wing it and hope that your natural charm carries you through it all (and for some people, it does work that way) Or you could be wise and put all the odds in your favour.
Keep the tips we gave you in mind, and you can be sure that customers, colleagues and clients will appreciate it. At the end of the day, we truly believe that the happier people around us are, the more fulfilling and satisfying our love and work lives can be too.