Is it possible that we don’t know how our customers connect with our organization practically and emotionally? Millions of books have been read and training hours spent teaching on how to define the type of client each company is looking for, but what if the best client engagement came down to understanding your client’s basic preferred language?

The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” book by Dr Paul White and Gary Chapman was written to create a better workplace environment for employee retention and productivity. Consider these same ways of communicating when marketing or following up with your clients. Chris Cook summarizes the 5 languages in this post, below is a personal adaptation I found helpful for marketing and sales purposes.


“A thoughtfully chosen gift suited to the individual can have an enormous impact on people whose primary language is tangible gifts…We are not talking about… monetary gifts; it has to be personal to the individual for it to be perceived as an expression of appreciation.”


“This is the most common form of appreciation expressed…and it is especially important to practice with individuals whose primary language of appreciation is verbal praise…Praise and recognition can be public or private; introverts…may prefer a quieter approach, while others will feel most appreciated when praise is shared…”


“For those who value acts of service, actions speak louder than words. Here are several ways to express appreciation to those who fall into this category”

  1. Ask if they want help.
  2. Do it their way (you want them to feel the task is done “right”; otherwise, the service could backfire and make them feel they’d be better off doing it themselves).
  3. Complete what you start so they’re not left with an unfinished task (or warn them in advance that you can only help with a portion of the project, asking if they still want your help).


Time is valuable, but can be well worth the investment. “If… language of appreciation is quality time, she will respond positively to the following actions”

  1. Offer your undivided attention, like so:
    • Maintain eye contact while talking.
    • Don’t multitask.
    • Listen for thoughts and feelings.
    • Affirm those feelings—even if you disagree.
    • Observe body language and respond accordingly.
    • Don’t interrupt (the average person listens 17 seconds before interrupting—try to beat that record).
  2. Find opportunities to create shared experiences.
  3. Be in close physical proximity while accomplishing projects.

Working side by side on a shared goal creates a sense of quality time, even if you are working independently. Physical presence isn’t enough to create a sense of quality time, however—you need to be emotionally present, too.


While there can be appropriate expressions of physical touch…a friendly high-five, pat on the back, handshake, fist bump, hand on the shoulder or hug during a personal tragedy—this appreciation language is the trickiest to apply…The interpretation of touch varies widely according to individuals…and a person’s history with abuse. If a person stiffens in response to touch, that’s a good indication they are uncomfortable being touched.

General Tips:

Three-quarters of people intuitively express appreciation in their own language. This raises two significant points: 1) you can usually guess a person’s language of appreciation by observing how they express it to others and 2) just because you convey appreciation through your preferred language does not mean the recipient will feel appreciated. If you do not share the same language, the expression will fall on deaf ears. To informally assess a person’s language of appreciation.

  1. Observe their behavior.
  2. Listen to their requests.
  3. Notice what they complain about (this usually reveals emotional hurt related to their language of appreciation).

Marketing is a broad term that describes the multifaceted strategy to promote your organization or business. At Giver Marketing we specialize in finding an effective strategy which increases your company’s desired results by highlighting your “goodwill” activity in the community. Our “Promotion Package” includes both advertising and PR for maximum results. See this helpful video about the 3 keys to a marketing campaign Branding, Visibility and Promotion to learn more.

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