A simple “Thank You” speaks volumes

Thank you for reading this piece (but back to that in a moment.)

Recently, I received valuable advice from a colleague. It wasn’t a business plan for a blockbuster company, a secret formula to synthesize gold from base elements, or a patentable insight. What he said was, “always say thank you when you get feedback.” I didn’t think about it all that much at the moment, except to think that I was grateful for the heartfelt advice.

The amazing thing about the advice to thank people for feedback is how easy it is to apply, and what great results it provides.  You might think that people are used to hearing this as an almost automatic response or a token response and don’t notice, but they most definitely do notice.  What we more often notice is the absence of the acknowledgement (ask anyone who lives in California the difference between shopping in the supermarket and being talked to by friendly staff there and in a similar store on the East Coast and you’ll get the idea).  So I’m trying to put the advice into practice.

The first thing I’ve noticed is that some people are actually startled to be spoken to directly. The checker at the supermarket and the clerk at the gas station are used to being in transactional interactions, rather than conversations, from many customers.

So What Can We Do Differently to Show Others They Matter?

Start with a personalized version of Hello.Chris Brogan’s speech at Web 2.0 this week reinforces this idea, suggesting that when we greet people we should say “I see you”, instead of “hello”, indicating that we are acknowledging the person’s presence and not simply regurgitating a rote response of recognition.  And end with Thank You.  Or in my case, perhaps I’ll start with Thank you from now on.


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