This blog post was written by Ross Cowan, who spoke at momondays Ottawa, December 8, 2014.

Getting along with folks is harder than we may think. Stresses like lack of time management, self imposed (non) urgencies and failing to develop our daily ‘To Do’ list can be counter productive to effective relationship building. Within our daily routines, and due to such stresses, we need to work at developing and improving our personal and business relationships.

‘Hugging a client’, the ultimate relationship builder, is about making it a priority to engage a client in a way that conveys thoughtfulness, sincerity and a willingness to go beyond the traditional way of differentiation through price, service and quality. And, in a non-business sense, making the ‘hugging’ part of one’s communications and out-reach in every day living.

Technology makes it easier to instantly reach out and at the same time, be an obstacle to verbal communications. Today, it’s not uncommon to hear grandparents complain about their grandchildren and their obsession with those ‘hand held things’. Abbreviated social discourse, with the ‘like’ and ‘ya know’ generation, seems intent on seeing how brief a message can be transmitted via their device (texting: the new language).

Alternately, social media creates opportunities to stay in touch and ‘hug’ one’s friends … every hour of every day! That’s the easy part. Developing and implementing a non-media relationship ‘Hugging’ campaign is more formidable. A brainstorming session (family and/or business) can create ideas on how to ‘hug’ colleagues, co-workers, family members and even complete strangers (diffusing driving/parking lot issues come to mind).

Some ideas for making ‘hugging’ a way of life: praising when warranted (our children’s teachers/coaches), celebration of events, following up (as was promised), sending handwritten notes from a supply of appropriate cards, holding a Family Values meeting to list where members can contribute … e.g. shoveling of seniors walks without payment, always being on time (set clocks five minutes fast), community volunteering, responding to a neighbor who has experienced some personal misfortune, being the first to help clean up, offering to help new parents, etc.

Business applications may include: holding a focus group to explore better ways to serve, create partnerships with common goals (eco/green), celebration of a client’s anniversary/product launch/promotion, etc.

A ‘Hugging’ strategy can transform and enhance relationships!