The Lost Art of Saying Thank You

Written by lewsauder

February 9, 2011

Saying Thank You

Saying Thank You

I have three kids whose ages range from nine to sixteen.   Whenever they receive a gift, whether it’s from a family member, a friend of the family or one of their pals, we make sure they write a thank you note to that person.  It’s important that they learn the value of showing gratitude.  In addition to making the gift giver feel better, I believe there is a personal benefit to telling someone how much their gift or gesture means to them. I hope my kids get as much out of saying thank you as the person they’re thanking.

Saying thank you at work

I also hope that it carries over into their careers.  It’s so important in a professional environment to show gratitude when people do something for you.  Certainly you want to do it for the big things.  When you get a promotion or recognition from your boss, hand-write them a note saying thank you and letting them know that you couldn’t have done it without their guidance.  If you truly believe their guidance had nothing to do with it, you can still thank them for recognizing your efforts.

Of course you also need to send a note to someone who interviews you to thank them for their time.  I’ve interviewed many people over the years and am amazed at how rare it is to receive a thank-you note.  It’s certainly not what gets you the job.  I don’t recall ever saying, “Let’s give her the job because she sent a thank-you note.” But it helps to set you apart if you happen to be on equal ground with another candidate.  When someone sends me a thank you note for an interview, it gives them a few more points.  If they don’t get the job, I’m more likely to remember them the next time a position comes up.

Saying thank you on a daily basis

It’s important for smaller things too.  If one of your peers goes out of their way to help you out, it will mean a lot to them if you send a friendly email thanking them.  If you can thank them in front of the whole team in the staff meeting, that’s even better.  They may claim embarrassment, but deep down, they’re loving it.

It’s most important to show your appreciation when a client helps you out with something.  In a professional services environment, we often tend to forget that we’re there to serve the client, not the other way around.  If a client employee finds a lost file for you or directs you to the key person to help you get you the answer you need, you’ll be amazed at the goodwill you can generate by sending them an email thanking them.  If it created a benefit for the project, it would help to copy their manager on the email.

See my related post: Earning Client Respect

We live and work in a world of distractions.  We’re inundated with texts, tweets, emails and a hundred other things that interrupt our focus.  When someone does something for us, we’re appreciative deep down; we just don’t always take the time to thank them for it.  What we don’t realize is it makes a big difference to the person you thank, and makes you feel pretty good too.  The next time someone does something – anything – nice for you, take the time to thank them.  You’ll both feel better.

How often do you say thank you?

If you would like to learn more about working in consulting, get Lew’s book Consulting 101: 101 Tips for Success in Consulting at Amazon.com

As always, I welcome your comments and crticisms.

Lew’s Books at Amazon:

Project Management 101
Consulting 101
The Reluctant Mentor

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