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John F Kennedy once said “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”
Within the fast pace of our lives and the advent of technology, have we forgotten to say thank you. I often say that we are now more socially connected, but less emotionally connected. Is saying ‘Thank you’ and showing gratitude an under appreciated and lost art? There is a great interview with management consultant Peter Bregman where he questions the need in this day and age to say thank you. He talks about how we are becoming far more transactional in our communication, via texts and emails, and we are slowly losing our relationship with people. We take the receipt of information and not having to always acknowledge it as part of the way we operate. We are conditioning ourselves to not say thanks. I must admit that I do like to say thanks. I pretty much end all my emails with ‘Thanks’ or ‘Thanking you in advance’. Sometimes I wonder if it necessary at all. Does anyone actually think “Ah, that’s nice, Kai said thanks at the end of his email”?
Dr. Laura Trice muses on the power of the magic words “thank you” in her TED Talk, where she presents the idea of asking for a thank you. Something probably most of us never do. I must admit I am not sure if this is the right way to go about seeking gratitude, but that’s just me. I am happy though to keep reminding people to thank others. I think that we should all be a lot more grateful for what people do for one another. It is not difficult. As long as it is done in a thoughtful and positive manner that is both specific and genuine, it is a powerful force. In ‘Flourish’ by Martin Seligman, the world renowned founder of positive psychology and well-being, he writes “Gratitude can make your life happier and more satisfying.” I believe this to be true.
Here some ways of saying thank you:
- Say it in person, and mean it. Make a phone call. Tell someone that you are grateful and appreciative. It will mean a lot to them.
- Send a hand written letter (yes, hand written!). I do this often throughout the year to people that have helped me.
- Send a ‘Thank you’ specific card. The company I work for actually has branded ‘Thank you’ cards. Perfect for clients or persons that have directly helped you within your professional environment.
When you finish reading this, take five minutes to think of someone you should say thank you to. Then find them, and tell them. If they are not close by, even better, ‘write’ them a short letter.
Thank you for reading.
A version of this post was posted last year in the excellent Breakfast Brief by Max & Buddy Consulting. Click here (http://www.maxandbuddyconsulting.com.au) and make sure you subscribe.