Give physical touch. People who speak this language feel appreciated by touch that encourages them. In the workplace, you must be careful not to touch people in any way that could be misinterpreted as sexual harassment, so keep your expressions of physical touch appropriately within the boundaries of what your colleagues are comfortable with. Some forms of touch that could be encouraging to people (depending on their personal preferences) include: handshakes, high fives, pats on the back or shoulders, and casual hugs.

Be aware of your own biases. Since you’ll naturally tend to express appreciation to others in the ways you best receive appreciation yourself, make an extra effort to communicate appreciation in the language or languages that you personally value least, so you won’t neglect showing your appreciation to all of your colleagues, regardless of whether or not they speak the same appreciation language you do.

Distinguish between recognition and appreciation. While it’s important to recognize people for doing a great job at work, it’s also important to appreciate every person in your workplace, regardless of their current performance on the job. If you only recognize people when they do something extraordinarily good, you’ll miss important opportunities to motivate everyone in your organization to reach their potential – which you can do by regularly expressing appreciation to all of your colleagues.

Don’t forget to encourage your volunteers. Just as you plan to show appreciation regularly to your paid employees, be sure to let your volunteers know often how much you appreciate them and their work. Keep in mind that people usually volunteer for two main reasons: social connectedness and perceived impact. So make them feel relationally connected to yourself and others your workplace, and let them know how their efforts are helping your organization accomplish its mission.

Develop a habit of expressing appreciation. Be intentional about showing appreciation to your colleagues every day – no matter how busy you are – by incorporating the appreciation languages into how you interact with them. After you make it a daily discipline to express appreciation to the people you work with, doing so will start to come naturally to you.

Adapted from The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People, copyright 2012 by Gary Chapman and Paul White. Published by Northfield Publishing, a division of Moody Publishers, Chicago, Ill., www.moodypublishers.com.

Gary Chapman, PhD, is the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling The 5 Love Languages. With more than 30 years of counseling experience, he has the uncanny ability to hold a mirror up to human behavior, showing readers not just where they go wrong, but also how to grow and move forward. Dr. Chapman holds BA and MA degrees in anthropology from Wheaton College and Wake Forest University, respectively, MRE and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and has completed postgraduate work at the University of North Carolina and Duke University. For more information, visit his website at www.5lovelanguages.com.

Dr. Paul White, PhD, is a licensed psychologist who has worked with individuals, businesses and families in a variety of settings for more than 20 years. He received his B.A. from Wheaton, his Masters from Arizona State, and his PhD in Counseling Psychology from Georgia State University. He consults with successful businesses and high net worth families, dealing with the relational issues intertwined with business and financial wealth. In addition to serving businesses, families and organizations across the United States, Dr. White has also spoken and consulted in Europe, Central Asia, the Caribbean, and South America. For more information, visit his website at www.drpaulwhite.com.

Whitney Hopler is a freelance writer and editor who serves as both a Crosswalk.com contributing writer and the editor of About.com’s site on angels and miracles. Contact Whitney at: angels@aboutguide.com to send in a true story of an angelic encounter or a miraculous experience like an answered prayer.

Publication date: March 19, 2013