Have you read the book – 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman? It’s an excellent book that describes the way we feel loved and appreciated. The five languages are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Personal Touch, Acts of Service and Gifts.

We tend to do things that we like, giving gifts and support in the way we want to receive them, but that may not be the recipient’s love language. It’s essential to understand this distinction. I wanted to extend this distinction to business relationships as people buy people at the end of the day, and we do business we know, like, and trust.

And one of the best ways to build trust with clients or your team is to understand what is important. Look at these languages to understand how it applies in your business and work relationships

Words of Affirmation

People love compliments and recognition. It could be as simple as the article you wrote was excellent. As Ken Blanchard said in the One Minute Manager – catch them doing something right and mention it.  As a manager, you could say that was a great piece of work yesterday, I was impressed.  I interviewed one of my clients for my Unleash Your Value Podcast recently and pinged her to say how impressed I was with the interview.

Act of Service

Go the extra mile with your client. Save the article you read that reminds you of them and forward it.  Send a birthday card and not an e-card. Switch the clock off and give some extra time and support with that bid or proposal.

Quality time

Pick up the phone, make a surprise call, have a chat instead of sending an email. Book a zoom meeting. I had a chat with an ex-client last week, and it was so great to catch up to hear what’s been happening during this Covid year. What was striking was she said, “Morton, thanks for checking in as I would never have done this, but it has been good.


For the 10th Anniversary of Oprah’s O’ magazine, she gifted every staff member an Apple iPad and 10,000 dollars.

We are not all Oprah, but you can do your version, which may be as simple as a family voucher, a voucher for their kids, paying for something to do with an interest outside of work. I recall a manager buying a present for one of my colleague’s daughters, and she burst into tears and was very overwhelmed.

Physical touch:

In a professional setting, this is delicate as the boundary of inappropriateness can easily be blurred. That said, a hug -with permission or just a hand on a shoulder may be all that is needed.

The important thing is to understand what is important to the other person. A relationship’s value relies on how much you take an interest in learning and understanding their needs, which applies to work, business, or personal.


If you are a manager, take some time to understand your team’s love language; you may notice a change in their commitment. It will pay dividends.

If you have clients, make it a priority to learn their love language as that may well be the thing that wins you repeat business, as, at the end of the day, we all want to be understood.