What are the two powerful words that get attention immediately & the three ways to say it?

A few months back, I was intrigued by an e-mail that said, “We have now made it easy for you with a Thank You software application. So go right ahead and show your appreciation”. Replete with templates, eye-catchy designs and countless fonts the “Thank You” app offered enough allure for me to break away from the tedious “things to do” list and I quickly sent out a note of appreciation to a colleague who helped me with a critical task, which had a very stiff deadline. Once I clicked on the send button, I noticed that I was happy, a warm & fuzzy feeling enveloped me and I felt an extra lift in my step, for the rest of the hour.

Unlike the customary situation, why did I feel happy when I was the “giver” and not the “receiver?”

Can we reference a specialist?

Professor Martin (“Marty”) Seligman is an American psychologist, educator, and author of self-help books and remains one of the most frequently cited psychologist in introductory psychology textbooks. Prof. Seligman spent many years developing a theory of happiness. He wanted to identify the building blocks of well-being. He drew up a five-sided model of well-being & happiness called the PERMA model. The acronym stands for Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationship, Meaning and Achievement.

With the acquired knowledge and awareness of Prof. Seligman’s model, I pause here to reflect on the act of saying “Thank You” and I recognize the following : When I acknowledged the timely help of my colleague, amongst the sea of emotions that one feels while in office, I was choosing to be anchored in a zone of positive emotions. The timely recognition hopefully was a small step towards building a lasting relationship with my colleague. The task at hand had a purpose and added meaning to our respective roles and the sense of having met the deadline together generated the radiant feeling of achievement. Engagement and being connected with that colleague were the other upsides.

Obviously, I am deducing why I was feeling happy by saying those two words- “Thank You”!

At work, given that we run into countless pressure cooker situations of having to achieve more with less resources, meeting tough deadlines, dealing with highly complex team dynamics, coupled with ever changing market environments – I couldn’t have guessed that happiness at work could be “bought” so easy – just by engaging in the act of saying a heartfelt “Thank You”.

Repeatedly, statistics and surveys on the subject of top talent attrition have shown that unhappy workers leave the organization because they felt less appreciated for the significant contributions and the results they brought in. Unhappy employees are less engaged and consequently less productive. Increased absenteeism is another prevalent factor. Clearly, few of the top reasons for the erosion of a company’s bottom line. While there could never be a single “silver bullet”, promoting an authentic “Thank You” culture makes eminent economic sense, if the adverse situation could be reversed.

Did you notice that I mentioned authentic? Some acknowledgements don’t stick. They are what I call the soap bubble “Thank You” messages. You don’t remember them.

Here are my 3 ways to deliver an authentic and effective “Thank You” message:

Being Timely: Irrespective of how well worded or creatively crafted the message is, it has that positive effect when the appreciation is given in a timely fashion. Imagine delivering a “Thank You” message after a month or two has passed by! Time is of essence for the message to stick.
Being Specific: An appreciation with the context being highlighted goes on to show that the sender isn’t sending prosaic “feel good” messages. And the feeling of gratefulness shows when you’re specific.
Being Personal: When you get those “I wish to thank everyone blah blah…” mails with a bcc to your name, you promptly delete those messages. It begets the reaction that it deserves. Personalize them and a multiplier factor kicks in if it is an old-fashioned hand written message.

Well, Happy Thanksgiving!

Ps: Wish to sign off by saying “Thank You” to you for having spent time in reading my post and also in advance for leaving your comments that adds value and additional perspective to this post. Wish you can also click the “Thumbs Up” button if the post resonated with you! Love the feedback. ?

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