Some of you may be familiar with the author Gary Chapman and his 1992 book, “The 5 Love Languages,” a New York Times bestseller. This book -- though the concepts are intended mainly for those in a personal relationship (spouses/significant others and parents/children) -- has basic principles which I feel translate well into the working world.
From Gary’s website: “Of the countless ways we can show love to one another, five key categories, or five love languages, proved to be universal and comprehensive – everyone has a love language, and we all identify primarily with one of the five love languages: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch” (Okay, I’ll admit that the last “love language” probably doesn’t have its place in the halls and cubes of professional settings.)
After reading this book with my wife, I learned that my primary love language is Words of Affirmation (I need to be told I’m appreciated), and there are two that are tied as my second language: Receiving Gifts (more than it sounds on the surface, this brings to life the concept that it is the thought that counts) and Acts of Service (show me you care by doing something for me).
Words of Affirmation in the workplace can mean an unsolicited “job well done.” Quality Time might be drinks with the boss after work or a team building exercise with a client. Receiving Gifts might be an unexpected bonus or small gift card of appreciation. And Acts of Service could be a simple, “let me do that for you,” easing a burden of responsibility for someone who needs it. (Like learning to use the fax machine yourself?)
As we approach May’s special evening program celebrating the Pinnacle Awards, I think I get excited because it relates to my love language of Words of Affirmation. We’re all communications professionals facing some of the most challenging times in industry – don’t we owe it to ourselves to celebrate success, even if it’s not our own?
Submitting a Pinnacle entry isn’t a difficult task, but it does take a bit of effort, support from management, and a willingness to make yourself vulnerable to be judged. Therefore we should applaud each professional who entered, not just those who win (and that’s exactly what we’re planning to do).
So even if you didn’t enter the Pinnacles this year, I strongly encourage you to consider attending the evening awards dinner on May 12. We should turn out in large numbers to support those who participated, even if we ourselves did not enter this year. The networking will be unmatched (rub elbows with our state’s finest in the profession? Yes, please!), and we can all join together to congratulate others on a job well done. And those are Words of Affirmation that anyone can appreciate.
Need more convincing? How about a cash bar and a full hour of socializing? Now we’re talking…
See you May 12.
Jamaison Schuler, APR