Emotional intelligence is all about being connected. Connection is the key to all life let alone business – because it creates feelings. And feelings are at the core of ALL successful businesses – whether it is sales, customer service, leadership, teams or anything else!
Why is connection important?
Research shows us that people who are disconnected from themselves (head and heart disconnected – not knowing yourself or feeling) and others (heart to heart disconnect – perceived as distant, insincere or unauthentic) will die earlier of ALL causes.
Being connected not only helps you live longer and healthier but it improves business. Customers come back when they feel a special connection with your team; if your business has a strong community connection and profile, you will have people supporting you over your competitors.
Your employees will work far more effectively and with initiative, loyalty and enthusiasm when they feel they know the real you – that you are authentic with them. It makes you trustworthy and reliable.
Connection is even more important for women, who operate particularly strongly through this value – break a woman's trust , make her feel disconnected from you and she will never buy your product or do business with you again!
Find ways to reconnect with yourself and others and watch your business transform. Social media and its rise is ALL about feelings and connecting! Young people talk to each other via SMS while they are sitting next to each other! We have to adapt to this new way of connecting to which they all relate – even though it's all about the same thing – how we make others feel.
Some specific techniques that will help you to connect in all ways include:
Let go, lighten up and not taking life so seriously; encouraging others to have that same spirit so your customers feel it when they come in; they discover a haven that lightens their spirit each time they visit your business – they want to return just because they feel good every time they do. Drop that baggage you have been carrying around forever – not only is it making you sick (literally) but it's creating barriers between you and others. When you model for your team that attitude, they will adopt it as well.
Have fun at work – creating an environment where people really enjoy what they do and laugh often and out loud will generate more energy than you thought possible! It stops staff turnover and makes you an employer of choice – when people see they can have fun AND work professionally. Customers do not have a lot of fun every day – their lives are full of stress and strain. For example if you are in the restaurant business and you can make eating with the family a fun relaxing experience they will visit you far more often! It's a secret weapon against the ‘big boys'. How often have you visited a fast food chain and been greeted with a happy, smiling team – not just one person – who seems to be having a great time; an environment which makes you feel good just to be around? That's the secret weapon!
Greet people differently! – Why not do something completely different? When you greet people with ‘hi how you doing' or ‘how are you' – you are one of millions! In fact, often you might just say ‘hello' to people and they answer ‘fine thanks!' because they are so used to people saying ‘hi how are you?' that the fact you just said ‘hi' doesn't even register! Be different, stand out from everyone else and have everyone in your team greet your customers with ‘Hi, what's the best thing that happened to you today?' I know it's different but it works! Use it at staff meetings to change the mood of the group; it creates an atmosphere of optimism and also makes people feel better because their chemical makeup changes when they recall happy events. Another secret weapon!
Make people's eyes sparkle! -When someone is in love, enthusiastic, excited or motivated about something, what do their eyes do? They sparkle! Everyone knows this but rarely do leaders recognize that it is the best customer service tool there is! If you can have managers who make the team's eyes sparkle, then that sparkle spreads out to the customers. If your team has a specific directive to make the eyes of everyone you meet sparkle, then imagine the positive effects! It's so easy to make someone feel special – a simple comment on how they look, a sincere smile; a genuine enquiry about their day – these are all ways that can transform your business into a positive spirited, optimistic and energized place. But‚ as the Harvard Business Review points out – YOU have to do it first!
Acknowledge and recognize others – for ANY achievement – Most leaders underestimate the power of recognition. It is the NUMBER ONE thing that people want in life. Everyone wants to feel they are special; that what they do is appreciated; they want people to notice if they put in special effort or do something above and beyond their job description. They want to feel cared for and that their contribution matters. How often do you do this? We need simple and new ways to build recognition into daily life so it becomes a part of the culture you are creating.
Be Grateful as a way of living – Gratitude is the antidote to misery, pessimism, depression, lethargy and a host of other unwanted behaviors. Your gratitude for the work your managers and employees do and for the opportunities you have had, will flow through directly and impact your team. When they live with an attitude of gratitude as Keith Harrell used to say, they will work with an attitude of gratitude and the will make your life a LOT easier!
By Amanda Gore – Zooties!