Business Networking: The Power of Thank-You

The power of thank you fbIt’s simple.  It’s polite.  And it’s powerful.  The phrase “thank-you” is more than just good manners, it’s an amazing tool that all of us possess, yet not enough of us utilize.  And, thanking others is a way to strengthen our relationship with them.

Whatever the “occasion”, a good old-fashioned “thank-you” note is as easy as it gets.  In our electronic age of emails, voicemails, cell phones and online networking, a hand-written note is truly rare and stands out. As a refresher, here are seven “occasions” to say “thank-you”:

1.  Send Kudos to a Colleague.
If someone you know has done something noteworthy — perhaps they were in the local paper or they volunteered at a charity event or just received a promotion — send your congratulations and a comment on their achievement.

2.  Show Customer Appreciation.
The best marketing advice around is to value your customers — they are your business.  You can welcome new customers, thank long-standing customers for their continued commitment and attract new customers all by simply saying “thanks for your business.”

3.  Value Those Who Are Virtual.
To enrich an online connection even further, take a moment to send a note to a friend on Facebook, follower on Twitter or connection on LinkedIn.  Thank them for being a part of your community or for participating in a blog discussion or for sharing their perspective.  This can be especially effective for reaching out to potential clients as well as gaining visibility with web “celebrities” and experts.

4.  Acknowledge Advice.
Ever get a great suggestion or tip from someone that really paid off?  Did you thank them for the information?  Well, we all get advice from time to time — some of it personal and some of it professional.  Expertise is achieved with hard work and sacrifice, so show your appreciation for useful or helpful advice by jotting a quick note of thanks and telling the person how it has helped you.

5.  Praise People.
We all need to feel that we matter and that what we do matters to others.  Don’t skimp on your praise for others.  Be quick to acknowledge a job well done, a great idea, a recent promotion, or extra effort by someone you work with — either in the same office, a vendor or business associate.

6.  Remark on a Referral.
Word of mouth is the best advertisement for your business — that is, if it’s positive.  Remember to thank those who refer business to you.  Make sure they know how much you value them so they don’t feel that their contribution is unappreciated.

7.  Salute Good Service. 
Many of us complain about bad service, but do we take the time to be thankful for outstanding service?  If someone at the bank is especially helpful, if the person waiting on you at your favorite restaurant makes your experience exceptional or if a vendor goes above and beyond to get your order right and on time — these are all opportunities to say “thank-you.”

Thanking others can take many shapes and forms — everything from a quick “thanks” for making an introduction at a networking meeting to a more detailed thanks for something truly above and beyond that someone did for you.

Just for fun, try looking for reasons to thank others for a day or even a week. Challenge yourself to write one thank-you note each day or week — don’t worry about your handwriting or having the perfect cards or stationery.  Keep it short and sincere — and then send it.

When you take advantage of each opportunity to say “thank-you”, you’ll find that not only will you make others feel good about themselves and what they do, but you’ll feel good, too.

Who can you thank today?   Share your thoughts and experiences below in the comments.

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  1. Hi Thank You for this post. I try to be good and leave comments as often as there is time. Also I praise people very often I know myself how good it feels to get possitive comments. Greetings from the netherlands

    • Cathy Jennings says:

      Hi Coby!

      Thanks for stopping by and cheering on your fellow Ultimate Blog Challenger!

      I was in the Netherlands briefly a couple of years ago to see my brother in a duathlon. I hope to get back there someday!

      Cathy

  2. Pauline says:

    Hi Cathy
    I agree it takes little effort to say thank you but those words go a long way!
    I think with my blog commenting and interaction with other networkers I must say thank you a few times every day and I always appreciate it when someone says them to me :) it helps build great relationships :)
    Thanks for sharing
    Pauline

    • Cathy Jennings says:

      Pauline,

      Thanks for the comment!

      You are so right — saying thank you and appreciating someone helps build great relationships.

      If we would just remember how great it feels when we are appreciated, praised and thanked, I think we might do it more often — good reminder!

      Cathy

  3. Keith Addison says:

    You are very correct in your article that it takes very little time to say a simple ‘Thank you’ but it can have such powerful meaning. Sadly it seems common courtesy is vanishing fast in today’s world and it is a shame as it shows a lack of respect not only for the individual but a lack of respect for others around them as well. I try to bring my children up saying please and thank you for everything and recognising they are part of an interactive world built on networks and relationships.
    I look forward to reading more of your posts over the coming month of the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

    • Cathy Jennings says:

      Thanks, Keith!

      Great insights! Yes, we are part of an “interactive world” as you say — so, we need to remember that it’s not always about me. In fact, thinking about, thanking and doing for others really makes you fell BETTER about yourself as well because the focus on you is not constant.

      Thanks for the comment and I hope to see you again, soon.

      Cathy

  4. Nice post, some good points. I’m always saying thanks, I used to send thankyou cards all the time but nowadays it’s a text or email or a simple thankyou on face book but I know many don’t – this is a nice reminder. Thanks for sharing.

    • Cathy Jennings says:

      Hi Dianne!

      Thanks for stopping by to read the blog!

      I’m glad you’re an avid “thanker” — a great habit to have!

      I find that thank you cards (any card, actually) still really stand out and make an impression, so I send those to special clients or folks I’m wanting to establish some rapport with in a more meaningful way. Who doesn’t love a nice card in the mail?

      Cathy

  5. i agree!! A friend of mine does something called ‘pay it forward,’ rather than paying back a good deed she passes one on to another person. That way theres a whole lot of love flying around.x

    • Cathy Jennings says:

      Jackie,

      Thanks for the comment!

      I’m a huge fan of “pay it forward” — just being generally kind, helpful and friendly to others does wonders in so many ways, doesn’t it? Not only is it nice for the person on the receiving end, but it also makes us feel great, too. Win-win!

      Hope to “see” you again sometime soon.

      Cathy

  6. Cathy, thanks for your timely article on something we should all be doing but easily forget. I just received an assignment from some one and will definitely be sending them a thank you card as a result of your advice. It has put all kinds of great ideas into my head about how to further communicate with others.
    As a matter of fact, I have a favorite waiter and although I tip him, what a great way to further thank him. And my my hair stylist. You have given me so many ideas my head is swimming.
    It really boils down to gratitude, taking it one step further and doing something doing something tangible about it.
    Many thanks for thinking about us to write something special,
    Sarah

    • Cathy Jennings says:

      Sarah,

      Simple gratitude is great, but going that one step further and doing something “tangible” is REALLY great — love that point! (I think it’s Sandy Martini’s influence of Extreme Client Care on us!)

      I’m so glad you found some good ideas — let me know if you come up with some more creative ways to say “thank you”.

      Cathy

  7. Allison Rapp says:

    Cathy, I think I’ll start my thanks for the day right here! This is great advice, and something I think most of us need a reminder about from time to time.

    One of my favorite things to do when I have to travel very early in the morning (NOT my time of day, I can assure you!) is to thank people for getting up up earlier than I did so I could fly at 6AM. It’s amazing to watch a human face transform in a moment of acknowledgement!

    • Cathy Jennings says:

      Hey Allison!

      Amen to being grateful to the morning people! I’m barely human until after 8am (and turn into a pumpkin again around 10pm), so I REALLY appreciate all the early birds who are at work long before I am. Love that!

      Cathy

  8. Cathy – I LOVE IT!

    Expressing gratitude is the easiest and fastest way to ensure you have a great day! I love your suggestions, especially, “Praise People.” Acknowledge people when they do something that helps you out, and be sincere about it!

    Thanks for the post!

    • Cathy Jennings says:

      Paul,

      You are “All About Gratitude”, so I would think you have ALL KINDS of things to add to this one! I love your site — http://www.allaboutgratitude.com and think it’s such a great reminder to be grateful and positive in how we approach life’s everyday situations.

      Nice to “see” you again!

      Cathy

  9. Leanne Chesser says:

    I totally agree and it’s something I do regularly. I’m about to start a 30 day gratitude challenge, actually, where I’ll send a card a day for 30 days. It’s powerful and it does stand out. Thanks for posting about this!

    • Cathy Jennings says:

      Hey Leanne!

      Great to “see” you again in the blog challenge!

      I love the idea of a 30 day gratitude challenge! Think of all the great things that will happen with just 30 simple cards! I just might adopt this one as well.

      Cathy

  10. This rocks! I’m very modern and punk rock in some ways, but I’m “old fashioned” when it comes to thank you notes. I still send them and believe that they are awesome. I love receiving them too. This art has been lost in modern times due to emails, texting, and social media. I still feel high touch is high value too, especially in biz sense :) Nice to read your post.

    • Cathy Jennings says:

      Thanks, Lisa!

      Love the phrase, “high touch is high value” — and oh so true in our digital age!

      Who doesn’t love a card in the mail? I am a bit of a stationery addict and have an entire bookshelf of cards and envelopes and pretty notes to send folks.

      Long live REAL cards in the mail!

      Cathy

  11. I am an ex teacher and have always been an advocate of nice manners – after all they cost nothing. I loved reading your post. It reminds me that not enough people do thank others. I always try to thank people as I know how I feel when praised or thanked. One thing I do a lot is smile at people! Today, I was praised for that. Last night I was watching a lovely concert at our church and when I enjoy things, I do smile to show gratitude. I met one of the ladies today and she said how nice it was to see a smiley face in the audience!!! So glad I helped to make her day! We have now arranged to meet up for coffee and I believe this is going to be the start of a new friendship.

    • Cathy Jennings says:

      Amen, Lyn!

      As a speaker, I LOVE folks like you who smile and interact with me during presentations. I try to do the same for speakers and performers when I’m in the audience as well. GREAT reminder to be mindful of our facial expressions and how easy it is to convey appreciation with just a smile or nod.

      Cathy

  12. Paying forward with a thank you note, an appreciation and with a gratitude word,letter or smile allows us to increase our capacity for more joy for us and the others.
    2 simple words can make the difference, so I take this opportunity to THANK YOU Cathy for sharing this message here for everyone!

    • Cathy Jennings says:

      Thank YOU, Patricia, for reading and commenting!

      Being thankful and grateful towards others really DOES make more joy for us and for other people! It’s amazing how simple it can be.

      Hope to hear from you again!

      Cathy

  13. Cathy,
    I just received a handwritten thank you note from a friend I have helped out who has been going through some difficult times. It meant so much to me for her to take the time to thank me for something I was not expecting thanks for. A great reminder and motivator for me to grab a stack of notes and start writing!

    • Cathy Jennings says:

      Aren’t they the best, Nancy?!

      I love cards — getting and sending them! They show an extra bit of effort and thoughtfulness than an email or quick message online. (although I use these as well).

      Glad you enjoyed the post.

      Cathy

  14. It’s funny how the thank you note has faded out over the years. Now it seems to be reserved to baby and bridal showers. Its refreshing to hear that we are trying to bring these little notes back.

    • Thanks for the comment, Jackie.

      I’ve always had an obsession with stationery stores — I love cards, notepaper, journals, etc. But, I also love to RECEIVE notes in the mail, so I always keep in mind how they make me feel when I think I’m “too busy” to bother sending them to others.

  15. Love these tips, Cathy. I love sending out cards by snail mail. It’s so unusual in this digital age! Another thing I do will be to create a thank-you card online and personalizing it. With some programs, you can add your own real signature. Good stuff!

    • Jackie,

      Personalized cards are more than just a “message” to someone — they represent a gesture and the fact that you value the relationship enough to spend the time/money/effort to send them a hand-written note. And, with our wonderful modern technologies, there are some great options for making the process more organized and easier than ever — familiar with Send Out Cards?

  16. I love this article, and you are right! It is so important to say, “Thank you!”

    Quick story: I have a family member who I have bent over backwards for for the last 4-5 years. I’d give her rides to work, home and where ever and even paid her way when she was short on cash and wanted to go to amusement parks with me. She never ONCE said ‘Thank you.” Realizing I was unappreciated, I stopped doing favors for her. In fact, I pretty much wrote her out of my life.

    Never underestimate the value of “Thank you,” because it is one of the most important things you will ever say. :)

  17. Thank you is such a great way to show appreciation and doesn’t cost anything. I always feel a bit slighted when people don’t say thank you for a gift. I find it rude. I have always taught my kids to say thank you too. It’s a very important gesture in life!

    • Thanks for the comment, Daveda.

      Yes, our modern manners are somewhat lacking these days and thank you is such a simple thing to say. Kudos to you for teaching your kids the value of thanking others.

  18. So many people complain about all of the bad things, but never step up when service is really above and beyond. I’ve made it a point to go and find managers when I have had exceptional service. You are amazed at how shocked and relieved managers are to get pulled aside to hear something GOOD. Same with sending in emails to customer service. Such a great post!

    • Heather,

      You are so right! Always look for opportunities to share the good — people appreciate it and respond to it. Thank you is such an easy way validate someone else as well as make a great impression. It’s a win-win!

  19. Maria Stefanopoulos says:

    I love giving (and receiving) snail mail Thank You cards. It really shows someone they are special as it takes a bit more effort to write out the card, address the envelope, and mail it. Thank you for this post, it’s a great reminder.

    • Yay, Maria!

      Who doesn’t love to get a real, live hand-written note in the mail? They brighten a person’s day and truly demonstrate that you care enough to put the time/effort into staying in touch. Kudos!

  20. Michael Kawula says:

    So true! It seems so obvious but often forgotten. It’s so easy to say those two words and so valuable.

  21. As one of my businesses I’m involved with Send Out Cards—- I get clients and team members asking me for some ideas as to when to send cards. I should just point them towards this post! Great ideas, thank you!

  22. Great post, I don’t think we can learn enough on the topic of gratitude and appreciation, great article Cathy!

  23. great Article, too many people forget the importance of Thank you!!!

    • Sandy,

      We sometimes think that “thank you” is just a nice thing to do. Instead, it truly holds the power to create connection and rapport in a way that other exchanges just don’t.

      Thanks for the comment.

  24. First of all, thanks for sharing this topic with us. You nailed it! And to answer your question, I am grateful for my clients’ trust and confidence in me. They are one of the reasons why I continue to improve and do all I can on a daily basis.

  25. It’s amazing how far a simple sign of appreciation can go. You’ve got me inspired Cathy. I think I might stop sending “nice to meet you” emails after connecting with people at networking events and send a card instead.

    Thanks Cathy.

  26. I like the reaching out to people online! I built a gret business long ago online by reaching out and building relationships! Great advice, Cathy!

    • As an introvert, I LOVE social media for connecting! I can do it on my terms, thoughtfully consider who I want to connect with and what I want to say AND — no big mega mixers for me! :-)

      Thanks for the comment, Elizabeth and let’s stay connected!

  27. These are great tips and admittedly I need to put ALL of these items into practice more often. It doesn’t take much time but if they’re not done at the very moment they are on your mind, they don’t get done – at least in my case.

    • Thanks, Shelley.

      I’m the same way — do it now or it’s gone. I try to schedule time every week for these types of activities — it usually leads to a great phone call or reply and a furthering of the connection.

  28. Interesting post! Indeed saying “Thank You” has strengthened many good relationships and businesses. What are your ways of saying “Thank You?”

    • Lori,

      I believe simple acknowledgement goes a long way — actually SAYING thank you a lot to others and being specific about what you are thanking someone for. I also love to send hand-written notes to people as well as find little gifts that are especially for the person I’m wanting to thank.

      How about you?

  29. Michael McDonald says:

    Great tips. You can never appreciate anyone enough especially the people who put their trust in you.

    • Good point about trust, Mike.

      Customers, clients, vendors, referral partners, friends, family, business colleagues — they all put their trust in us to some degree and it doesn’t take much to erode that trust. Saying thank you is just a great way of building rapport and keeping their trust.

      Thanks for the comment.

  30. Great blog and I totally agree! Thank You is part of my ways I teach people how to put the ‘social’ back into social media with the T.R.A.C.E method. Thank, Recognize, Appreciate, Congratulate, Encourage someone everyday on your social media page.

    Mel