The Power of Saying Thank You

Thank you!  Never underestimate the power of these words. Saying “thank you” can make a huge difference to our success and to the lives of others around us. People like to be thanked and they need to be thanked. Doing so will not only put us in a better mood, it helps open new doors.

Today, sending a thank-you is so rare that it has become a competitive advantage for a job applicants or employees because it differentiates them from the rest of the pack. Some studies have found that more than 50 percent of people do not write thank yous. That scarcity magnifies the value and power of handwritten notes. Most people won’t rave about a “thank you email” to their friends and colleagues…but a “thank you card” can make a huge impact!

In fact, a recent survey in Personnel Today found that the greatest factor in workplace productivity is a positive environment in which employees feel appreciated. Further, managers say that manners practiced inside a firm, especially thank-yous, reveal a lot about how a person might be treating customers outside the firm. Smart managers who establish a culture of gratitude also expand their appreciation beyond employees to suppliers, vendors, delivery people and customers.

Here are some ideas to increase the impact of saying thank you:

Be Sincere. If praise isn’t genuine, it could have a negative effect.

Be Personal. Anything that looks like a form letter shouts insincerity. Misspelled or incorrect names and titles offend and damage credibility.

Be Specific. It’s more impactful to mention specifics, rather than generalities like, “Great job!”

Be Timely. Waiting too long to say thank you can have the opposite effect, turning gratitude into a grudge. Time is critical because we prioritize our activities based on importance. Sending a thank you as soon as you get the call/order/recommendation dramatically increases the impact.

Be Public. Others are encouraged when they see public appreciation. Public praise also raises general morale.

The benefits of saying thank you are far reaching – at work or in our personal life. Besides helping us stand out, it strengthens our relationships with others, motivates others to continue engaging in helpful behavior, and sends a strong message about our values and the professionalism of our organization. Saying thank you appeals to a basic human need to be appreciated and sets the stage for the next pleasant encounter.

Challenge: Make “thank you” a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). Make a plan to approach each day with the desire to thank more people—in person, by using a card or email, and through appreciation programs. It’s a business investment that helps set your business apart, creating favorable lasting impressions, goodwill, greater loyalty and the likelihood of improved sales.

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