Very excited to write about the undervalue or under appreciation of a thank you. It something I have noodled on for a while. A recent experience reminded me of the importance of saying thank you and how it can benefit you personally and professionally.
Last week, I attended Vocus Demand Success conference at the National Harbor. If you missed the conference, check out these Storify links of day one and day two that covered a lot of great information on marketing, social media, public relations, search engine optimization, e-mail marketing, to name a few.
At the conference, I had the opportunity to meet Arianna Huffington, as she was the keynote for the conference this year. If you don’t know who Arianna is, she is chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, a nationally syndicated columnist, and author of thirteen books. Essentially, she’s one badass lady and a powerful businesswoman.
To say I was excited to meet her is an understatement. When I met her, I blurted out a lot, but from what I remember, I mentioned how much I enjoyed her talk and then explained how my company contributes to Huffington’s new blogs, Girls in Stem. I couldn’t help myself and let’s be honest; I wouldn’t be a PR person if I didn’t, right? The next phrase out her mouth was completely unexpected, “thank you for contributing [to our blog]. You are doing great things.”
Wow, I thought, how awesome is that! But there are a few things to note: First, I am confident that she didn’t know me or the company I represent. Two, her compliment and appreciation was not fake, but genuine. Those few words meant a lot and I shared those with my coworkers and my team. But, it also reminded me how we, as managers, employees, and leaders forget about the value of just saying, “thanks.” It didn’t take a whole lot, but boy did it leave an impression
Is this act of kindness an anomaly? What type of impact does showing gratitude have on a business? Mark Goulston wrote an article for Harvard Business Review back in February covering gratitude. My favorite part of the article was research by Adam Grant and Francesca Gino that showed saying thank you not only results in reciprocal generosity — where the thanked person is more likely to help the thanker — but also stimulates pro-social behavior in general. In other words, saying “thanks” increases the likelihood your employee will not only help you, but also help someone else.
If it takes so little effort to say thanks then why is saying, “thank you” not valued? Here are a few observations, at least from my perspective:
- You have to mean it.
- You have to care.
- Too many folks are focused on their interests or getting what they need done first without consideration of the other person.
- People don’t think outside of themselves. Goes back to caring and nurturing.
- It takes extra time. Those valuable seconds seem like eternity for some.
- There’s no priority to show gratitude. Foolish really if you think about it. Everything you do involves people. Saying thanks doesn’t always have to involve monetary terms.
Gratitude cost nothing and more people should stop and thank the people they interact or work with. If you just took a moment to say thanks, imagine what type of reaction you would get in that moment. Imagine how much easier future interactions would be? I bet those would be a lot more pleasant.