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The Importance of Saying \"Thank You\"

Posted by
23 Sep 2014

What difference does saying "thank you" make?

Everyday in our work and personal lives, people do a number of things for each other, but how often do we say thank you and really put emphasis behind the phrase? Personally, I know that I can take some things for granted, especially when I am at home and with family and friends and take the assumption that they are already aware of my gratitude.

It seems that there have been a number of talks and articles written on the subject, and it would seem that saying "thank you", really can be more powerful than I had ever really given thought to - especially if the person being thanked isn't expecting it, or really needs to hear it.

By thanking someone, you can change someone's mood completely, increase engagement and motivation. Should we give more thought and meaning into using the words "thank you"?

One article I have read suggests that the meaning can come diluted when thrown around regularly and the impact the phrase should have is lost.

However, Mark Goulston has written about the topic and 'power thank yous', in which he provides a framework for demonstrating gratitude. His framework suggests that in thanking someone, you should be guided by the following points;

  • Be specific about why you are thanking the individual - is there something defineable that they have done, or are you thanking them for a range of reasons?
  • Personalise your "thank you"
  • Support your words with body language; be open, face the person you are thanking, and focus on what you are doing
  • Be authentic.

Having given the power of a meaningful "thank you" quite a lot of consideration this morning, I am hoping that it will encourage me to use this simple phrase far more effectively moving forward!

Does your workplace have processes in place to encourage colleagues showing their gratitude to each other, or do you as an individual ensure you say "thank you" in a particular way? Leave your thoughts and experiences below.

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