How to say thank you

Saying 'thank you' has been called the neglected art. Indeed, there is a reluctance among some managers to express adequate appreciation for a job well done. A few simple, well-placed thanks, however, can do wonders to improve the performance of your staff. To maximise the benefits of this powerful word, here are a few useful suggestions...

1. Speak up.

Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone; you should never mistake your warm feelings and beaming smiles for the art itself. If you express your gratitude to a colleague, though, don't cheapen the value of the well-earned thanks by mumbling the words or by being embarrassed. Think about what you're going to say and how you're going to say it. Even a simple thanks sometimes requires preparation.

2. Say it - and mean it.

Every time we express sincere appreciation, we give value to the other person. Our words say, 'You are important to me and to our organisation.' Remember:

They who thank with the lips
Thank others but in part;
The full, the true thanksgiving
Comes from deep within the heart.

So say it as if you mean it - not just because you're expected to. Routine and ritualised expressions of thanks often lack any real effect.

3. Be specific.

A vague, sweeping ‘thank you’ is not nearly as effective or as flattering as a clear-cut: 'Thanks for drafting that letter to Joe Thompson, Judith. The reply was spot-on and it saved me heaps of time.' Don't leave people confused about what you're thanking them for.

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