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Speaking the Language

Posted by: John Butler  :  Category: Communication, Manager, Morale, Teaming

Speaking the Language That Lets You Be Heard

Do you ever wonder why some people respond better to your lead, suggestions, or personality than others?  Well, everyone hears your language differently.  If you want someone to feel valued and respond favorably, you’ll need to understand his or her preferred language.  There is a terrific book called “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary D. Chapman.  It was written to help couples better understand each other’s needs.  However, I have utilized it in the corporate world as well; especially since poor communication is a dominant complaint I hear voiced in almost every engagement I work.

The author explains that each of us has a different preference for how we would like to be shown we are needed and loved.  I contend that all employees, as well as managers, share the same desire–we want to be useful, valued, and appreciated.  Chapman goes into detail about the five main categories he believes people fall into and how we can utilize this theory to make sure we are “speaking” our mate’s language. 

The five languages are: Time Together, Spoken Word, Acts of Service, Touch, and Gifts.  Each of these, are undoubtedly powerful ways to validate another. Imagine the impact of one or several of these “ways of speaking” when you have experienced them.  

If you think about your staff, you might recognize the person in your office who comes by your desk to chat or wants to go to lunch with you as one who values spending time together.  The one who always tells you how great they are, or maybe how great you are, appreciates the spoken word.  How about the employee who is always doing or offering to do things for you?  That person is motivated by acts of service.  Someone who puts their hand on your shoulder or arm as they speak with you is warmed by touch.  Lastly, some people are great at sending cards, finding just the right “tchotchke” or goodies they thought you’d like; gifts are their language. 

Most people will naturally DO that which they want someone else to do for them.  This modeling doesn’t always work if the other person has little appreciation for that particular language.  However, it does help you identify what their language is!  For example, if your language is the spoken word, but a key staff member prefers acts of service, s/he will appreciate it more if you offer to collaborate on the required report instead of suggesting you both go for a drink and a chat when it is done.  On the other hand, s/he may get more from you if they were to tell you that you are a consummate presenter than, if they asked to co-lead your next session. 

Try to pay attention to such preferences in your workplace in the coming weeks.  Additionally, I recommend you read the book, you will find it fascinating and the concepts easy to transfer to your work environment.  Finally, I hope you become fluent in the language your employees require to confirm their value to your organization!

John T. Butler, President & CEO

3 Responses to “Speaking the Language”

  1. ben Says:


    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó….

  2. claude Says:



  3. max Says:


    thanks for information….

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