We are all evaluated subconsciously by customers, clients and partners in the course of our work. For entrepreneurs and business owners, however, a neutral or negative evaluation could potentially have a long-standing impact on the health and profitability of their business.

Here are some simple behavioural changes that entrepreneurs can adopt to put a  positive spin on their influence and how they are perceived.

1. Include the Magic Word

Develop the habit of saying “please” when making a request or providing a colleague with instructions for an upcoming task. This makes your statements sound less like commands and more like requests.

Establishing a productive communication-driven relationship with the members of their teams is important for entrepreneurs and business owners. As seventeenth-century English author John Donne once famously said, “No man is an island”. Similarly, the leaders of organisations depend on assistance and support from the members of their team to achieve their business objectives.

Saying “please” when speaking with colleagues does wonders to make them feel appreciated and valued for their efforts. As a result, they are likely to put more effort into their work and produce positive outcomes.

2. The Power of Thank You

Gratitude is one of the underestimated forms of emotional expression most of us perform on a daily basis. While a little gesture of appreciation can go a long way, many are hesitant to express gratitude as they fear it may be perceived as a form of weakness or insecurity.

However, being openly grateful has the opposite effect. Research has shown that gratitude fosters and enhances happiness and other positive emotions. These include trust, perception of integrity, reliability, and strength, amongst others. Appreciative people were also believed to be more energetic, more helpful, more forgiving, and less depressed or resentful.

One way that entrepreneurs and business owners can express gratitude at work include thanking an employee for their work on a recent project by mentioning specific situations that he/she performed well on (i.e. a difficult client, a challenging vendor, etc). Being truthful and specific demonstrates attention to the person’s work while highlighting the specific aspects that were performed well.

Pro-tip: Remember that familiarity breeds contempt. Make it a point to say “thank you” even to those who you are extremely comfortable or familiar with, as they are those who are more likely to be overlooked. In addition to gratitude, check out these other simple communication hacks to get ahead at work!

3. Use ‘I’m Sorry’ Sparingly 

“Sorry” should not be regarded as a magic word capable of turning back time and righting past wrongs. Apologising wholeheartedly is a much more complex process involving honesty, the offer of possible solutions, and sincere attempts at reparation.

A proper apology should also not be considered an admission of guilt or weakness. Instead, an apology demonstrates remorse, a determination to set things right, and a keen sense of morality.

However, when “I’m sorry” is overused or used unnecessarily, it becomes ‘diluted’ and loses its sincerity. For example, if a colleague offers to shoulder your load of the work while you attend to a personal emergency, a “thank you so much” would be better received than “I’m so sorry to trouble you”.

The biggest danger of overusing “I’m sorry” is that it may make you look passive or indecisive, and eventually create the impression that you lack confidence.

Therefore, do not be afraid to say “I’m sorry”, but pair it with solutions to the problem and only say it when the situation calls for it.

These three short yet highly effective phrases can make a world of difference when interacting with a friend, family member, or work associate. If you are an entrepreneur or a business owner, try adopting these small shifts in attitude and witness the positive results yourself!


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