Are you Truly Thankful?

Recently I underwent a procedure in which I couldn't eat solid foods for almost two days. I went to bed starving; I woke up with a headache. But at least I knew when my next meal was coming, and for that I was very thankful. For so many people, they really don't know when they will eat again, and it got me thinking.

Are we expressing how truly thankful we are for our jobs, businesses, clients and opportunities to learn and excel? In a world that seems to be riddled with entitlement for simply 'showing up', how can we as employees and leaders show our appreciation? It is easier than you think and not just at Thanksgiving. Trust me, when you do even one of these 27 ideas, you'll stand out in the crowd!

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.
— John F. Kennedy

1. Take action.

  • Write a thank you note on real stationary and mail or deliver in person.
  • Write a personal thank you note for every sales call, job interview, referral given.
  • Write a sticky note and place on their desk, book, computer.
  • Send flowers, a small token of your appreciation - something that will surprise them.
  • Write a dedicated email - not just an afterthought attached to another 'work' email.
  • Take photos of them in action, their logo, ad, sponsorship or something where their time or investment was in play and send to them.
  • Take an amazing employee out to lunch - not just on their birthday, but just because.
  • Send a text that simply says, "I saw this...and thought of you..."
  • Offer an instant or exclusive discount, freebie or extra special add on.
  • Send them an inspiring book with a handwritten note or subscribe them to a magazine like Success

Example:

My daughters and I had dinner at a Ballantyne restaurant recently. It was not exceptionally busy, but our food was taking an extremely long time to arrive. Those behind us in line were almost done eating. A meal finally came for one of my daughters, and I told her to start eating. The server apologized profusely and produced our dishes soon after. Before we left, he presented us with a $10 gift card and again expressed their sincere thanks for our patience and hoped we would come back. Now, that, prevented me from a bitter taste in my mouth...literally!

 

2.  Thank online.

  • Respond to every positive review (and even the not so positive ones) with a 'thank you for taking the time out from your busy day to...'
  • Thank your followers online with graphics and sincere words of gratitude for attending your event.
  • Humble yourself to say to your fans: you are what helps us to grow, employ even more people, create new product, give back to our community, support the economy, help children, advocate for animals, etc.
  • RT (retweet) positive Tweets or ones that mention your business, and thank them with a 'quote tweet'
  • Share positive reviews and comments on Facebook
  • Use the @name to call out a specific person or business
  • Use their first name
  • Break down reviews and put into a graphic to make it stand out more

Example:

I was a volunteer photographer for a special event in Charlotte. If you know anything about photography - or volunteering for a special event, it is very time consuming and extremely hard to 'get exposure' from it enough to make up for your time and energy. However, I felt very good about this particular organization because they were SO appreciative of their volunteers. By doing the following, they hit a home run in my book:

  1. They tagged and promoted the photographers on all of their social media.
  2. They produced a flyer with all of our information and distributed throughout the city.
  3. They presented us with potted plants and gift cards to take home as a thank you gift.
  4. They created a follow up video of a montage of the photographs from all of our work.
  5. They THANKED us profusely, kept us in the loop, and then surveyed us after the event.

3. Stop making everything about you.

  • Take a look at your website. Does it focus on why you're so great, how long you've been doing this for or how you helped other people or does it focus on a problem you can solve that person looking at your site right then and there?
  • On your LinkedIn profile and/or resume, is it all about ME, ME, pick ME? Or have you described how thankful you are to have had the opportunity to improve efficiency, save the company money, grow their sales, etc.?
  • When you receive a review or referral on LinkedIn, do you reciprocate?
  • Survey your clients, staff and customers - ask for their honest (anonymous) opinions.
  • Didn't make the team? Didn't get the job? Don't pout, send a note or email truly thanking them for their time and the opportunity to learn more about them or what you could do in the future to improve.
  • Educate your customers and employees. Help them learn more, expand their horizons, send them to seminars.
  • Write blogs and educational videos and social media posts that simply SERVE and don't SELL.
  • Stop taking credit for everything, and lift up those around you. Call them out on social media! Thank the server that went over and above for their service. Pull the store manager aside and say, "Suzy was amazing, please tell her how much she is appreciated for her time and talent." Don't present ideas to your boss and say they were yours!
  • Be an Undercover Boss every single day. What is going on in your organization? Don't be oblivious to the daily ins and outs, grumbles of your employees, and struggles that your subordinates face. Stop shying away from the negatives and turn them into positive learning experiences to improve conditions in your organization.

Example:

I remember sponsoring an event because a friend of mine asked me to. I was happy to do so, but when the day of the event came, I asked for a photo of what it looked like, where my sponsorship sign was and how much they raised. I was told that their camera was full, and they had nothing to share with me and never posted follow up photos or event information after the tournament. I was hopeful to share this on my social media and give them a little boost, but alas, I had nothing to show for it. I felt extremely under appreciated, and when they asked for money the next year, I politely declined, and told them why.  It appeared to me, that once they had my money, they didn't care about me as a supporter any more.

The takeaway:

When people (and businesses) don't feel appreciated, they stop working for you. They stop supporting your endeavors. Make sure you are reaching out not just at the holidays but throughout the year, when society and media isn't telling you to appreciate people!

I thank you for taking the time to read this article,

Terri