Do you have a watchword for the year?

Do you have a watchword for the year?

Category: Communicating with others

Do you have a watchword for the year?

Stephen Covey talks about an emotional bank account and Cialdini about reciprocity and I think they’re both worth considering as watchwords for your year.

An emotional bank account is what you build up in others by your behaviour (everything you say and do) towards them. Just like a financial bank account you make withdrawals and payments in; with an emotional bank account you’re paying in and out with actions and words rather than money. Do or say something nice and the account builds, don’t do what you said you would or behave badly towards them and the account empties.

In social psychology, reciprocity is the act of responding to a positive action with another positive action. Meaning that if you go around doing and saying positive things to others, you’ll find that others are likely to respond in kind. Our forefathers would have said “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.

Rather than worrying too much about what you can get from the next 12 months it might be worth considering what you can give to those around you.

Here are some suggestions of what that might look like:

  • Show integrity; take responsibility for your actions and words … really listen, think and only then respond.
  • If someone starts making offensive remarks, try to stop them or at least question what makes them believe the comment to be true. If you feel able, question the other person about what they’re saying … I find “what do you mean by that?” is often enough and/or if they don’t understand the impact of what they said, then tell them how it makes you feel … “when you say X it makes me feel uncomfortable/upset”.
  • Ask yourself “what can I do for them” and then do it. You can make a huge difference doing something simple such as smiling at someone, taking the time to chat to a colleague who looks tired or just getting them a coffee. A good turn can make you feel great too.
  • Do what you say you’ll do; if you tell someone you’ll send them something, then do it. If you tell them you’ll introduce them to a contact, then do it. Be known for keeping your word.
  • And my final suggestion is … be kind! What would you add?