‘Hello’ is a simple word, many of us use it every day.
But, often our interactions are habitual; sometimes we find it hard to prompt new, unexpected, conversations, or reach out to someone unknown.
World Hello Day
I recently discovered that 21st November is World Hello Day.
This anniversary was started in 1973, by Brian and Michael McCormack, as a response to conflict in the Middle East. The brothers explored communication as a way of resolving hostilities.
Sending letters out to world leaders, the pair encouraged those in power to talk instead of fight. Within a year, they had received backing for their project (link http://www.worldhelloday.org) from over 15 countries and since then the number has risen to 180.
Now, in 2017, the organisers will be celebrating the 45th occurrence of World Hello Day by asking supporters to reach out to ten people; acknowledging the role of conversation in building peace.
This may be an interesting story, but are you asking what this means to you or your business?
In the true spirit of World Hello Day (although we’re not aiming for world peace here…), communication can help fix troubled relationships.
Whatever your business is, you need other people. Those people may be your customers, employees, suppliers – they may even be friends or family. We know how important these connections are, however misunderstandings and disagreements can occur which damage them.
Over time, maybe there is someone with which your relations have soured?
Is now the time to repair that connection? A simple greeting might start the rebuilding.
ngagement with Customers
Any successful business needs customers, and good communication with our consumers is essential in gaining repeat business.
But when does the interaction occur? Often, it’s prompted by the customer making an order? Maybe there is a process by which you start the contact when a regular transaction is due?
Are there any client relationships you can think of which would benefit from an unexpected contact, no strings attached?
It’s clear that the deeper your understanding of your customer, their wants and needs, the more chance you have of finding you can satisfy wishes you didn’t even realise they had. This satisfaction may not be through providing a service yourself, but using your skills or contacts to help the client move forward.
Such support will benefit both of you, strengthening that relationship. Is there a customer you would like to get in touch with today?
eading the Troops
Are you a boss whose only contact with staff is when something is needed?
An unprompted exchange, with no hidden agenda, can help establish an openness within a team. Even small interactions will often result in people communicating better and working more productively.
Have you ever discovered something really useful from a conversation that started with a completely different purpose?
Could now be time to prompt a new conversation, then watch where it leads?
iaising with your Network
This week brought an interesting first for me, I visited a local business networking group. The members I met were enthusiastic, interesting and welcoming – they gave me a lot to think about.
How do we use the relationships we have outside our own business?
These contacts may be providing services which complement our own, or even be performing the same role as us. It’s possible that engaging with such connections might generate opportunities we’ve never considered.
And not all networks are organised groups; yours might be friends or family, colleagues old or new. However you were brought together it’s important to recognise the benefit of the mutual support gained here.
Starting up a dialogue – with as little as a hello – might take your relationship to new and interesting places.
All the participants I’ve considered up to this point have been established acquaintance. An integral part of building your business, however, is to reach out to a new audience.
Your opening contact – whether it’s distributing marketing material, introducing yourself to a group, or phoning a potential client – is an opportunity to create a positive connection.
As the McCormack brothers noted, a ‘hello’ can start a relationship; and it’s only by talking that we’ll create the changes we need to make, both in our workplace and outside it.