There is an art to using terms of endearment. We may well be warm loving individuals who pepper our verbal communication with words like “love, sweetheart, honey and babe”. But in business we tend to naturally dispense with that and keep to the safe path of business speak. This leaves no room for terms of endearments, but why?
Business language is different to personal language. We flip between the two styles quite naturally, we just know what to do. Within the context of our own workplace we may well feel comfortable to use terms of endearment. When we work with people we often get to know them personally and relationships evolve. People in the workplace are real people with lives, concerns, issues and highs and lows and all of that can sometimes spill out of them in the workplace where they feel safe with colleagues. Often personal issues can impact work performance so it’s important to manage these will care. When we know people, terms of endearment can help to build closeness and create a bit of healthy banter. Sometimes people can take offence at being called “love” or “sweetie” or something similar. But in the main, terms of endearment between colleagues are healthy and bonding.
The face of the business is different. It does depend on the type of business and the type of products or services provided. For example, it would be completely appropriate for a hairdressers to use terms of endearment, particularly with regular clients that they get to know. Likewise in a corporate environment, business relationships build between clients and suppliers. Once again terms of endearment can be appropriate as you get to know people and feel comfortable.
However in the context of a corporate business, it is best to simply stick to business speak, keeping communications business-like and using language that steers clear of familiarity and terms of endearment. There are situations when a caller or customer may be upset or angry. This is where terms of endearment can help to build a bridge to give the human touch. But you need skill and judgment to make that decision, otherwise you could make a bad situation worse.
If you’re a natural giver of terms of endearment it can be hard to modify this in the workplace. These people tend to be warm individuals who like to spread good vibes, but as with everything in life there is a time and a place. To protect yourself it’s best to steer clear of terms of endearments unless you’re on a sure footing. Colleagues and suppliers and benefit from the warmth that these individuals exude and they are the beneficiaries. But for clients in a corporate setting it’s safer just to stick to the rules.