The Salty Sea website features a headline and a list of suggestions on how to remain positive in a sea of negativity. While the suggestions apply to individuals, the basic idea also applies to business communication with customers and clients.
Looking for and sharing positive information to share – from gardening tips to good books to practical how-to advice – can be positively contagious.
It’s hard to radiate positivity without a positive state of mind. For individuals, staying positive means spending time with positive-minded people, taking walks or bike rides, reading and smiling. Staying positive for business is different and involves expressing gratitude, asking about customers and clients and continuously looking for ways to be useful, relevant and present.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted normal life and resulted in significant economic harm and uncertainty. Many people are searching for something positive. Now is a great moment for businesses to provide a dose of positivity. But first, you need to find your own positivity amid concerns over meeting payroll and paying the rent.
Relating to similar concerns of customers and clients is a good place to start. Let customers and clients know you empathize with them because you face many of the same challenges as they do. Ask how you can help? Use this moment of distress as an opportunity to build a relationship.
Depending on the nature of your business, find a way to pitch in on a community project. Make your contribution genuine, not just a photo-opp. Let those that you help tell the story instead of you taking a bow.
Recognize this is the time for exceptions to the rule to assist employees in distress. Give someone extra time off to care for a sick family member. Be flexible on work schedules for parents conducting class for their kids in their kitchens. Pay for higher speed internet service so a vulnerable employee can work safely and productively at home.
Celebrate good work, small wins and going the extra mile. NPR carried a story about a UPS store owner in Cleveland driving 1,200 miles in his Subaru to make a time-sensitive delivery of artwork by Friday to a customer in Naples, Florida. Ardeshir Agahi made the return trip in time to help his co-owner wife open their store on Saturday morning. When asked why such over-the-top customer service, Agahi said, “You know, as a small-business owner – we’ve been in business for two years, actually. Now we are going through a very difficult time.” Your story may not top that but celebrate it anyway. Start your day by sending an email that praises someone to set your own mindset.
Consider the psychological impact of your actions on customers, clients, employees and yourself. The unknowns posed by the pandemic and the isolation it has caused can be big-time downers. Looking for and sharing positive information to share – from gardening tips to good books to practical how-to advice – can be positively contagious. At the same time, make sure to take time to sustain your personal positivity. Write, read, go on hikes, meditate, watch a great movie or get in touch with an old friend – whatever it takes to be sunny instead of gloomy. Don’t forget to smile.
Let your example of positivity rub off on others. By taking care of your own state of mind, you can model behavior for others to follow, from employees to customers to suppliers. People are looking for positivity wherever they can find it. Help them find it at your place of business.
As Salty Sea advises, “As hard as it sounds, get yourself up, get yourself out.” Inspire yourself and let that inspire others.