The Appreciation Factor

All things Appreciation: Things to appreciate and the Ways we look at, Show and Think about Appreciation.


Leave a comment

Thankful Thursdays the March 30th Edition

Squeaking in a Thankful Thursdays edition. Thankful Thursdays Logo
With so much activity on the world-wide web and social media these days it’s great to see that kindness, positive words, and ways to show appreciation are still out there.  

I know that a couple of these stories happened a little while ago, but truly when you think about it, when is showing appreciation, gratitude or kindness EVER out of date?  Maybe one will inspire someone for next year.

So without further ado… Here are some great links I’ve found that support Thankful Thursdays – stories, people, companies, and videos that move me and which exemplify appreciation, or those making a difference in our world.

Continue reading


Leave a comment

Thankful Thursdays November 26th Edition

What better Thankful Thursday than the original – Thanksgiving.  This is a VERY special episode edition of Thankful Thursdays, as I decided to primarily post linksturkey that focus on saying Thank you, showing your gratitude, about giving back and a way to change the way you think about the holidays.

So before you go into a food-coma from all of the dishes that make your family’s Thanks-/friends-giving special, I hope you’ll take a moment to enjoy these 6 links that make me smile on this Thankful Thursday and accept my heartfelt thanks!

Thankful Thursdays: My tribute to stories and videos that exemplify appreciation, those that have moved me, and other people making a difference.

Continue reading


2 Comments

Customers and Networking Contacts Deserve Your Thanks

It seems to be that time of year, where the question has come up again about how to appropriately say thank you to your customers and networking contacts or (to my horror) whether you should even take the time to send a thank you.

Just today I came across two references on this topic. One referred to the sales benefits you could attain by saying thanks (at all times of the year), and the other was around the topic of whether to send holiday cards as a way to show a business’ appreciation.

In the blog post by Julian Bush on Financenk’s, business development blog, called 4 Ways to increase Sales by Showing Gratitude to Customers he addresses four key areas about appreciation.  This article was totally up my ally as it had overall resounding support of showing and thinking about appreciation at all times.  Bush’s first two points supported my belief that your customers and networking contacts deserve the time to say thanks.  It’s his view that to succeed in business is to show gratitude.

Here are the two points that resonated with me regarding the client and network perspective:

Those who have helped you. 

He recommends taking time each day to send a thank you message via email, text, or Internet greeting card, (See my recommendation for this last one) to those who may have, for example, referred a client or helped you in some way.

I agree, though for me, every day might be too overwhelming and I’d want to ensure that the act of showing my appreciation was meaningful vs. a chore. (It would NOT however, be dependent upon how large or small the act of assistance or kindness was.)Picture1

 

Are you appreciative for knowing someone?

Bush’s expression of gratitude expands to all who positively impact your life. This could be your family, your friends, your customers and colleagues.  He believes that to share this appreciation will attract more of the same assistance and likely reciprocal gratitude your way.

 

 

His last two areas talk to written affirmation of what your thankful for as a whole, and in your daily life. Both are worth a review.

Bush sums up his post with the statement that by taking the time to show gratitude to your clients will reap the rewards of deep loyalty, an increase in client retention and profits. I really can’t argue this fact, as many of my clients have remained close over the span of 10-12 years. I think this partly due to my ongoing recognition of their assistance and simply their support of my business and/or services.

 

Xmas Thank you note

This leads me to the second reference I found today.  I came across this in one of my LinkedIn Groups, Sticky Branding.  A lead contributor, Jeremy Miller, posed the question, “What’s your take on the practice of sending season’s greetings cards to clients.”  While the response ran the gamut of sending personalized cards, to ones that go out at Thanksgiving or New Year’s, the answer was a resounding “YES!”  Again, I’m fully in support.  We should always extend our appreciation to those who have helped along the way.

Each year around this time, I feel lucky as I start compiling a list of customers, clients, network contacts, and colleagues who have been instrumental to my success over the past year.  Just prior to the Christmas holiday, I’ll send out cards (both traditional, non-secular printed cards or an email card (see my post on a great resource) wishing this group, “Season’s Greetings” and a reminder of how much their help, their business or general goodwill to me during the year has meant.  This list truly reminds me of how blessed I’ve been.  *NOTE: I don’t see these cards as taking the place of the acknowledgement I would have sent at the time of the action/assistance.

Thanksgiving TY Note

There were many takes on the timing of these cards. Some proposed the Thanksgiving holiday time – which I agree, is right in line with the holiday’s meaning as we think about it today. Others expounded on the “Christmas” card time frame, still others a New Year’s timing.

While I personally aim for Christmas, I thought the New Year’s group had a point. Perhaps if I delayed my delivery slight, my card could provide more impact. My card/message would be seen/read and break through the clutter. However, I did disagree with the strategy some who’s goal was to send these notes to increase business.  I send my holiday cards as a message of appreciation and thanks.  I’d like to think that no matter my timing, that the sentiment (and yes I do include a personalized 1-2 sentence thank you on each and every card I send) would be received/appreciated no matter when it reaches my recipients mail/in box.

 

 

What you do you think?
Does your business send cards?  Do you personally send notes when someone has helped you or after you’ve completed a project with a client?  Do you see your cards or thank you notes as a way to increase business/used to impact business?  Would you send one regardless of the financial impact they may or may not have? Or is there an impact on your brand or company that you think sending these out may have?


2 Comments

In Business It’s Always a Great Practice

I wanted to follow up with the 2nd in the 3-part series about Why We Say Thank You, and today I’m focusing on Business Thank you notes. 

I am a big proponent of saying thank you and especially in sending  thank you notes.  I believe that saying thank you is one of the best business practices you can follow.  Thank you notes show that you are professional, you can be humble, they can help set you apart and land that great job you may be after, and they can help build strong, long-lasting relationships with colleagues, customers, prospects and key industry influencers; plus it is expected.

Writing a HW TY Note

When Should We Write Them In Business?

  • After an interview (no matter if it was in-person, on the phone or via Skype)
  • After you have received an endorsement or referral
  • When you have received advice or assistance in your career or on a project (I’d recommend these for those outside of my immediate firm.  Inside the firm a verbal thank you does the trick.)
  • Thanking a customer for their ongoing patronage of your business or services

The Handwritten vs. Typed vs. Email

HANDWRITTEN: This is my absolute top choice with it comes to sending a thank you note.  It shows that you care enough to take the extra time it takes to find a note card or stationary, write the appropriate appreciative sentiments, and put it in the mail.  It will set you apart from many who will quickly jot down an email, because you will be more likely to take more time to think about what you want to express before you write it down than you might in an email. To me this is a win win classy approach.

TYPED I have taken this approach at times where I felt the audience would be more receptive to a more formal approach. (e.g., financial institutions and clients often responded more favorably to the typed note or thank you.)  I’ve also used this version when I felt I needed more space to clarify a point in greater detail than might fit on a 4×6 thank you note.  (I’ll still keep it fairly brief and to the point  — I’ll address some times momentarily –, but it might be more straight-forward, and actually can look shorter if you take this approach.

EMAIL:   I may sound old-fashioned, but I do not believe in emailing a thank you note, especially after a job interview.  I know that some believe that emailing shows that you are technically savvy and aware of today’s electronic practices and in some cases, immediacy of the send is critical.  However, this method most often leaves me with the feeling that there was not a lot of thought that went into sending it, or that I couldn’t be bothered to write or type something and then put it in the mail.

If you absolutely feel that your handwriting is so poor that you message would be indistinguishable or if you’re applying to a company that expressed a dislike for all things paper – then email.  BUT… in no uncertain terms, take a casual approach to the message, (e.g., use slang, use a tone that expresses too much familiarity (if he/she is someone you haven’t known/done business with before.)  You should also never send a mass email or copy and paste the same body message to each of the recipients.  Each messages should be sent to one individual and personalized in the body copy based on the situation and discussion that took place.  They will compare your notes – I can guarantee that!

If you must send a note electronically, consider using an electronic card service like Puchbowl, or Hallmark (you can read more about these sites in my “An Electronic Thank You that even I Can Love” post.

Why Should I write One (Beyond the Above Reasons) aka What are the Potential Benefits?
Here are 3 Great Reasons:

  1. It makes a lasting impression, long after you’ve verbally said thank at the time of the interview, assistance or business interaction.
  2. It can help you build a solid business relationship with colleagues, customers and make a positive impression on prospects, that  extends long after he/she has received the note.
  3. It can set you apart from another candidate if: he/she did not send one, or you both are equally matched and you expressed a point you forgot to mention in the interview.  I can also show your attention-to-detail, especially if you hand write your note, and the other candidate sends a quick impersonal email.
DID YOU KNOW?
Thank you notes are expected by most hiring managers and recruiters.  According to a CareerBuilder.com survey…

Stats

Helpful Tips for Successful Thank You Notes

While I can’t write it for you, nor go into too much detail here in the post, I have assembled some personal tips I like to use and a few I’ve found that were widely accepted and expressed in the articles/blogs/etiquette sites I’ve come across:

  • Send within 24 hours of the event that prompts the thank you.
  • Use a nice store-bought thank you card (not greeting card ) or personal stationary. Crane & Co. and Hallmark make some great boxed cards you can and should keep on hand.
  • Add a “header” If you are typing the note – include your address at the top before the recipients and be sure include the date.
  • Always address the recipient as “Dear Mr. or Mrs. and their last name.  The exceptions, unless you’ve been given verbal approval to call them by their first name – you can never go wrong by being a little more formal here.  It’s also often OK to use a first name after “Dear” if you already know them/have worked with them for some time.
  • Refer to why you are writing to him/her – thank him/her for their time, the interview, the assistance etc.Thank you note
  • Keep the note as brief as possible, but be sure to add a comment, statistic or topic that you discussed. This can help set you apart and/or quickly remind the recipient who you are if they met several candidates over a long interview process. (e.g., you both love a trendy vacation spot, but shared a love for a lesser-known restaurant there… add it.)
  • Include a point you wanted to clarify if you think it could have been misinterpreted, or one that you wanted to expand on.  Keep it brief and better yet, bullet it if you can.  Using bullets can also quickly draw the eye of the recipient for these key points you want to ensure he/she sees.
  • Keep the tone professional, but add a little of your personality and don’t rehash everything that was discussed.
  • Thank them again for their time, assistance etc. before closing the letter.
  • Be sure to let hem know you’d like to keep in touch/see them again.  It shows you enjoyed and benefited from the time you spent together or the help/advice you received.
  • Enclose a business card, or contact information.  If you didn’t hand him/her a business before you left, you can do that now, or minimally include a way for them to contact you again.
  • Sign the note with “Sincerely”, or an “All the best”/”Best Regards” – Use something that is a little formal followed by your full name NEVER sign these with “Love.” Remember these are business notes, not personal ones.

I hope this gets you on your way to writing successful and frequent thank you notes. Remember you can never go wrong in thanking someone.  It can set you apart and can go a long way in bring you much success.

Do you use these same or similar tips?  Have you ever benefited from sending a thank you note?  Are there other instances you think require a thank you note?


Leave a comment

Finally a News Site that Promotes Good News

Today while I was doing some research for a future blog post, I came across a great “new” site, The Huffington Post’s Good News page.  Launched on January 12th, it’s touted as a “hub for all things happy, positive, and inspiring.”  Wow!!!  Finally a news organization that sees the benefit in featuring things that are positive in our world.  This is my kind of site.  Definitely mark this site as a favorite, so that you can see first hand that good things happen each and every day.

It Ties In
Ironically or perhaps fortuitously, today’s post featured 11 thank you notes from famous people.  (As I said, this is my kind of site!)  So in lieu of posting the article I’d planned for today, I wanted to immediately share this web address and their post of wonderful thank you notes.  Keep in mind, these notes weren’t just great because of their author, many captured the true essence of what sending a letter of appreciation is all about.

All Were Worth a Read, But Be Sure to Check Out…
Audrey Hepburn’s thank you to Henry Mancini, the composer of Breakfast At Tiffany’s.  She was able to recognize the true teamwork it took to create this memorable film.  (By the way, Mancini won Best Original Score at the 1962 Academy Awards for this work.)

I also especially liked Neil Armstrong’s show of gratitude to the team that developed and built the spacesuit that kept him safe while he took those first steps on the moon.  Even though it was sent 25 years after the fact, it proves that it’s really never too late to say thank you to those who have made a difference in your life.

Is there a thank you note that you’ve delayed getting out?  Why not take a few minutes today to write it and send it out.  (Although I wouldn’t recommend using the form-letter format that Dan Rowan and Dick Martin hosts of Laugh-In, used to thank their recent guests, which included John Wayne (featured here).


3 Comments

Are We Really Too Busy to Acknowledge The Help We Receive?

In this day and age of instantaneous communication and information, I think that the act of pausing to say thank you or appreciating someone else’s efforts on your behalf is getting lost in the shuffle.  Are we really too busy reading or responding to the next item on our iPhone, Blackberry or iPad to stop for a minute to recognize the help we just received?  Or… are we truly becoming a society of self-involved individuals who just expect everyone to do what we want because they are a friend or family member or because it’s part of their job description.  Scary thought if it’s true.

I make an effort to say thank you in both my personal life and in the work place, even for the smallest things.  My perspective is that if someone was willing to take a minute for me, I should be able to repay them with a minute of my appreciation and acknowledgement.  I’m also not a fan of the view that employees should not be thanked for simply carrying out the tasks listed in their job description.  Even though we often know what is required of us at work, it’s validating and often motivating to hear when we’ve done a good job and that we are appreciated.  Everyone has days where their work excelled and made a difference.

Today we’re working harder and harder and putting in more hours than ever before.  Surprisingly, despite this trend, studies have shown that employees have expressed satisfaction on the job, especially in organizations where they are recognized for doing a good job or if perks have been provided to incentivize the workforce.  (See this recent Boston.com article aptly named ” The appreciation factor“.)  Wouldn’t you work harder if your boss said, “Nice job on _________.” or provided lunch once a week because the team was short staffed and doing more work than usual?  I know I would.

UPDATE: 2/10/12  Just came across a recognition company site – O.C. Tanner located in Salt Lake City, UT.  They had a great blog post that spoke to the effectiveness of appreciated employees that I thought was worth passing along: “The Happy Factor: Why Appreciation Invites Success”.

Pausing to appreciate those around us is probably something we should be more concerned about as technology leads us down a road of becoming more data-centric and more impersonal in our day-to-day lives.  (Read:   Emailing and texting as the main form of communication versus meeting face-to-face.)  I’d like to suggest ending this pattern by implementing more personal interaction, especially when it comes to appreciating those around you.    

It only takes a minute to appreciate someone who helps you out.  For instance, if someone watches your child while you run an errand, or makes those 25 photocopies you haven’t gotten to, or if he/she simply holds the door open for you, acknowledge it.  You can simply say “thank you,” or you can take it a step farther by writing a note or sending a gift, all dependent upon how great the favor.   I’m sure that you’ll find that there is at least one instance in every day where you can show your appreciation.  I’m willing to give it a try.  Are you?