The Art of Saying Thank You

Bev IMS1

“Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.” - Gladys Bronwyn Stern

When I saw that quote in a Deloitte white paper titled “The Magic of Thank You”, it really made me smile.

I’ve been working on the 6th edition of Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em and I never thought we did enough with those words in our “Recognition” chapter.

We always tell managers that a “thank you” without any specifics after that is not as impactful as adding the “for what!”

Similarly, when someone thanks us for a job well done it is often equally hard to just take it in and say those magic words.

It has always been easier for me to say it to others.  Often when someone says "Thank you", I say, "Oh it was nothing!" or when someone compliments me on something I’m wearing, I usually tell them that I bought it on sale (which I usually do) and what a deal I got! I’m not the only one who does this, I’ll bet.

Recently, I received a lovely "gift" from the Institute of Management Studies in the form of a Lifetime Achievement Award.  They invited a number of guests to their offices and presented me with a trophy.

Boy, was I ever uncomfortable.  And I worried about what to say when I thanked them.  Then, (there really are no coincidences)  I remembered rediscovering a poem I wrote in 1981 when I received the Career Development Professional of the year by ASTD.

Those of you who know me, know that I often write a poem to share how I feel. Here’s that poem.

On Practicing What You Preach

I say “don’t be modest”

Appreciate your special skills

I say “luck” is not the “issue”

It’s you who make your thrills.

I say be aware of your OWN efforts

You are in charge of YOUR career

I say enlist the help of others

But – in the end, it’s YOU who got YOU there!

I scold – never say “it was nothing”

When recognition comes your way

You probably deserved the trumpets

“Thank you!” is all you really need to say.

I suggest these things with conviction

They’re part of what I teach

But tonight I am so overwhelmed

That it’s hard to practice what I preach!