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The Big Impact of Small Interactions

Have you ever worked with anyone who sapped your will to live? (Rhetorical question!)

I recently found this 2004 study on The Big Impact of Small Interactions.
Filled with fascinating insights; one part, in particular, stood out to me.

"Recent discoveries suggest that positive emotions are an essential daily requirement for survival.
Not only do they improve your physical and mental health, but they can also provide a buffer against depression and illness."

We all like to feel positive emotions. But knowing they play such an important role in our health and well-being moves them from being simply a ‘nice to have’, to a ‘must-have.’

Ordering a coffee - and hearing my name

Small interactions can directly affect our emotions. I recently ordered a coffee and was pleasantly surprised when the person taking my order gave me my receipt, used my name (that I had just given them for the order), and said thanks.

More than just great customer service, simply using my name made me feel seen.
It wasn't particularly difficult to do, but it had a big impact.


In a healthy marriage, you might think that for every negative interaction, a positive one would counteract it.

But that’s not the case. 


The same study suggests the ideal ratio of positive to negative interactions is 5 to 1 - that is, for every negative reaction, five positive ones are required to keep the relationship on the right footing. When the ratio approaches 1 to 1, marriages are more likely to end in divorce.


In the workplace, small positive interactions and workplace banter may seem intangible, but they can make a big, measurable impact.

Positive interactions build good team morale, which builds a healthy culture and helps staff feel engaged.
Happy, engaged staff mean happy clients, directly affecting the bottom line.

In an office, so many interactions happen ‘between’ the actual work. Water cooler chat and office banter set a great vibe, and are often when these positive interactions happen. 

But when a business (like Abe’s Audio) has staff in the office and working from home, it can be challenging to ensure those working remotely experience the same positive interactions. Zoom meetings are great for communication, but can make authentic connections difficult.

We often bring coffee (or flowers) to our team in the office and have treats delivered to staff working remotely. Team chatter on Slack will regularly include what everyone is having for dinner, and what their weekend plans are.
Pictures of pets are shared. (Side note - there are more dog lovers than cat lovers at Abe’s!)


Small positive interactions are a ‘must-have’ and can make a big impact on our lives.
Not just fluffy nice-to-haves, businesses that invest in helping positive interactions to happen regularly will see the benefits.

Plus, wouldn’t you rather feel positive emotions at work?


Abe Udy

Abe is the founder of Abe's Audio and started the business in 1998 from his bedroom with an old computer, fax machine, dial-up internet, and a microphone in his wardrobe. Today, he leads a team that provides audio production and voice overs to media, agency, eLearning, video & creative clients around Australia and beyond.

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