The Art of ‘Thank You’

Whether you’re thanking a friend, family member, treasured client or colleague, it’s important that you do it right.  In a recent article entitled “4 Rules for an Effective ‘Thank You’” author Harvey Mackay laments, “If only more people held onto gratitude the way they hold a grudge!”

Acknowledging that many have touched your life for good is a healthy exercise that will leave you open to even more good things.  Microsoft Business author Joanna Krotz even argues that regularly thanking associates with give you a competitive advantage.  She explains, “Today, extending old-time courtesies helps you stand out. Yes, boys and girls, saying “thank you” has become a competitive advantage. So few people express appreciation — a Lenox etiquette poll found that nearly five out of every 10 people don’t always say thanks — that remembering to do so is a sales point of difference. It also goes a long way toward forging the relationships that can turn into opportunities.”

Here we offer 5 tips in creating a memorable ‘thank you’:

  1. Be genuine.  Krotz suggests you be warm and personal while Mackay encourages sincerity above all else.  Most importantly, when sending notes of thanks to business associates, it’s important that you do so without following it with a request.  Turning a thank-you card into a promotion gimmick is disingenuous.
  2. Be specific.  If you dole out generic praise, it rings hollow and could actually have an adverse effect on the recipient.  Make sure you offer praise that specifies, exactly, what you are thankful for.
  3. Provide lasting recognition.  As Harvey explains, “Consider a letter in the employee’s file or a simple celebration for the department that overcame a tough challenge.  Appreciation is not a one-shot event.  It needs to be ongoing.”
  4. Make it memorable.  Krotz suggests giving clients and associates quirky gifts.  Judy Katz accompanies her ‘thank you’ cards with a plush bird that has an authentic bird call.  Recipients don’t soon forget Katz’s gratitude.
  5. Thank the complainers.  Krotz notes that most dissatisfied customers don’t bother to complain; they simply take their business elsewhere.  This is why it’s important that you thank those who bother to let you know they’re dissatisfied—without their feedback you wouldn’t know what to improve.  B.J. Gallagher, an HR training consultant in LA explains, “A customer who complains still wants to do business with you, if you can make things right.  So thank him or her for giving you that chance and assure him that you want to do everything you can to make him happy again.”

Spring is the perfect time to reflect on all those individuals who have helped you get where you are.  It’s also a good opportunity to practice gratitude in a way that can positively impact our lives.  Take the time to consider all those blessings you enjoy and then thank those who have contributed to them.  You may be surprised at how such a simple act can change your life and the lives of those you’re thanking.

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Krotz, Joanna.  “The Power of Saying Thank You.”

Mackay, Havey.  “4 Rules for an Effective ‘Thank You’.”  7 March 2012