AS A facilitator of effective communication, I constantly look for ways to help people communicate better with others.
Mr Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages, writes about effective communication techniques for married couples and families.
These five fundamentals can also be used in your day-to-day communication with your colleagues to build better relationships with them.
1. Words of affirmation
People often go about doing their jobs with little feedback on their performance.
In fact, unless something goes wrong and they are hauled up for it, the good they do is taken for granted.
What happens? Eventually, they lose their self-esteem, and their confidence levels start to wither.
People need constant reminders of the good work they have done.
There are some managers who might say that employees are paid to do their job.
While this is undeniable, apart from pay, people generally look for social approval to motivate them to perform better.
This form of recognition should be part of an organisation's strategy if it wants to develop its people and, more importantly, keep them.
Words of affirmation such as, "That was a great presentation" or "You did a great job in organising the department activity, thank you" do not cost anything.
But they are very valuable to the recipient.
Words of affirmation let people know that they are doing something right. They motivate people, give them a healthy self-esteem and build a communicative relationship between colleagues.
2. Quality time
Quality time is another important aspect of building effective relationships.
Very often, you may find yourself rushing through your work and even during your lunch breaks.
Many people do not spend enough time with their bosses and vice versa. Building a great relationship means getting to know other people so that you can support one another effectively.
People are social creatures and need to spend time with one another before they can build great teams.
Organisations are realising this and are investing more in team-building programmes and wellness initiatives.
These mass activities help people to get together so that they can interact and be part of the family within the organisation.
Creating the opportunity for colleagues to spend some quality time with one another is a way that organisations can engage their people.
If employees do not have an emotional attachment to the company, they will have little desire to contribute effectively to it.
3. Giving gifts
Like affirmative words, gifts tell the recipients that they are appreciated.
In a corporate environment, it is acceptable to show your appreciation of a colleague with an inexpensive but meaningful gift, for example, a bookmark with some personal words of gratitude, or a box of chocolates accompanied by a card of thanks.
Such gifts remind people that their efforts are noticed and appreciated. They lift the spirit and are great motivators too.
4. Acts of service
People love someone doing something for them. It gives satisfaction and appreciation, especially in a time of need.
Acts of service come in many shapes and sizes - from someone offering to clear the mailbox to buying lunches or even delivering a package on your behalf.
Doing a service for your colleague means going out of your way to help him. It tells him that you are on his side.
In an office environment, you naturally need to be very careful about this particular love language.
Touch, in this context, means giving colleagues a pat on the back to emphasise your appreciation of something they have done or to say "thank you".
However, some people are very conservative, and you should respect their values and refrain from any physical gestures.
A light touch on the shoulders can represent your concern, empathy, support or even approval.
Studies have shown that children who are shown a lot of affection by their parents and family members have greater self-esteem when they grow up. Your colleagues may find a pat on the back motivating and a boost to their self-esteem too.
To each his own
The five languages of love for office colleagues are basic communication techniques to help build relationships.
Out of the five, there will be at least one primary language that works better for an individual.
Everyone has different needs. Some people appreciate words of affirmation more, while others prefer quality time.
You need to understand what works better for whom to build sustainable and strong working relationships with your colleagues.