Sometimes it can even be a literal heart.
I always try to make a little smalltalk with the employees at my regular cafe. It helps ease the transition into the work day and sometimes leads to free pastries. Today I was the first customer of the morning and Kyle and Meghan were still setting up the bar covered with delicious treats as I came in.
“I really like it when you make the signs for the pastries,” he told her.
“Why?” I asked. “Because she’s better at it, or because you just don’t want to do it?”
“Both,” he said. “It’s just one of those chores that you dread. But I really like the heart that you put on the doughnut sign,” he told her. “It just adds a special something.”
Meghan was already making my latte the way they always do it for me without my having to ask–in a short water glass instead of a porcelain cup. “You know,” she said, “I wondered if it was a bit much. But every time I put a heart on a sign for something we sell out. So, whatever.”
Of course, you don’t want to put a heart on everything. If you do they become meaningless. But making a little extra effort, enthusiasm, or just being pleasant to deal with can go a long way to persuading anyone–whether you’re trying to sell doughnuts or your company’s quarterly financial results.
Here’s what my coffee looked like when I picked it up. I had to smile.