Everyone likes to feel appreciated. That's one of the underlying theories of the incentive, reward & recognition marketplace. "Recognition" is on every list of what motivates, retains employees, improves performance, increases engagement - you name it. It's so easy to do; why don't we show our appreciation more often?
For larger companies in the corporate space, it's important to have a defined, structured program so that all of the managers are on the same page, employees know what is expected of them, etc. But in our every day lives, it's easy, painless and FREE to make someone's day by showing a little appreciation and gratitude.
THE IMPACT OF "THANK YOU"
I feel a little silly listing these, but since there are many whole books on gratitude and appreciation, perhaps you'll indulge me with these couple of bullet points in a newsletter:
- Be Specific. More than just saying "thanks" in an automatic way, you can make eye contact, thank someone for whatever they did and name it, specifically. "Thank you for taking time to review my materials. Your feedback really helped me".
- Put it in writing. Better yet, write it in a note, or in an email. I'm a big fan of the hand-written note or thank-you card, but I also understand the immediacy of an email or text. Creative types will do both. When it's appropriate, you can send a quick email or text and then follow it up with a hand-written note. I have no idea whether this is "normal", but I have a drawer full of every thank-you note I've ever received. (Could be a hoarder thing....)
- In public. If the opportunity is available, thank people in public. At the event, in the meeting - thank co-workers, your staff or volunteers for the help they provided. Social media provides an additional way to thank people publicly. A shout-out on Linkedin, Facebook or Instagram can also be a way to show others that you appreciate this person and their actions.
WHEN TO THANK:
Some things are obvious: when you receive a gift, for instance, but some are not automatic, at least in my experience. When these kinds of things happen, there is probably someone to thank about it:
- when you've been quoted in an article or a piece has been written about you or your business
- when someone has referred you to someone else, or given your name to someone (whether you got the business or not)
- when you've been invited to speak at a meeting
- when someone has bought your coffee, lunch or dinner
- when you've asked someone for advice and they've provided it
- when someone has taken time to meet with you (at your request)
- when someone places an order with you
- when someone invites you to an event or party
The alternative to showing gratitude and appreciation is to risk having someone feel that they wasted their time helping you and they end up actually feeling bad for helping you.