Any one who is into sky diving or knows anything about parachute jumping understands the importance of the question “Who’s packing your parachute?” Your life literally depends on how the chute was packed. Who the packer is and how diligent they are packing that parachute is of vital importance to the jumper. There is no room for error.
As we go through life, we have many situations in which something important to us has been handled by someone else. What they do for us is vitally important to our business, our job, our livelihood or us and our family. How do we respond to those people? Do we take them for granted or do we find appropriate ways in which to show them how much we appreciate them and what they do?
It is always appropriate to say “Thank You!” when someone does something to help us or does something special for us. Showing appreciation is one of the highest forms of respect we can show each other.
We all like it when some one recognizes something we have said or done. Appreciation is a matter of common courtesy, but it is also a wise decision to make. Recognize what someone does for you with a word or some other act of appreciation. It is just good common sense to be thankful.
I used to think that I was an appreciative person. That is the way it was until I met a man named Ben. Ben is the most sincerely, appreciative person I have ever met. At the time I first met Ben, I was in independent contractor working in his office. Whenever I would complete an assignment for him, he would thank me for doing it. After several weeks of being thanked for the work I was doing for him, I made some lame comment to him that he didn’t need to thank me because he was paying me to do the work. My response was something along the line of because you are paying me to do this; you don’t really need to thank me, too. He simply responded with “I do appreciate all you do for me. Thanks again!” or something like that.
He will write a note of appreciation for a waitress or waiter in a restaurant when served well, and to a hotel concierge who assists him. He has a constant stream of sincere appreciation going out to any number of people all the time. And he is sincerely appreciative of what they have done for him.
These are some key things about showing appreciation I learned from Ben:
Appreciation must be sincere and timely. An immediate, heart felt thank you is deeply appreciated. Don’t save it up for some annual event. It won’t have much value if you do. It should be expressed, as soon after the achievement as possible. Show appreciation frequently. Appreciation has a short shelf-life. People can quickly feel that they are not appreciated if you fail to thank them. Years ago I had an experience in which my boss carried my Christmas bonus around in his brief case until the end of February. You can imagine how I felt about that expression of appreciation when I finally received it!
Make it personal. Appreciation is valued by everyone who receives it whether it is in the form of a note card, flowers, dinner out or a simple “Thanks! I appreciate you and what you have done for me.”
Be honest in your expression of appreciation. Don’t show it when you don’t feel it. Always attach the person’s name to it. Give it to them personally. Don’t just mention the job or project being done. Include them by name in your expression of appreciation.
Be consistent in expressing appreciation. Personalize your expression of thanks to fit the person and the reason for your expression of appreciation. Not everyone will appreciate the same expression of thanks. Know your people well enough to understand what it is that will make your expression of appreciation meaningful to them.
There is never a valid excuse for not showing appreciation. A failure to express appreciation is a failure of etiquette. Miss Manners would be disappointed in our lapse of good manners if we fail to express appropriate appreciation.
Be aware of what others are doing for you. Do you have someone “packing your parachute”? If you do, then your life or your livelihood depends on how well they do it for you. Show them how much you appreciate them personally and what they do for you. As you do, they will take even better care of you in your on-going relationship with them.
Show appreciation frequently. As I mentioned previously, appreciation has a limited shelf life. I am reminded of the old farmer whose wife wasn’t feeling like he loved her anymore. When she said something about it to him, he responded, “Well, I told you I loved you before we married. And I haven’t changed my mind about it.” The problem of course, was that she would have appreciated being told and shown often that the love was still there. So it is with appreciation. Show it often. You can find a variety of ways to say “Thank You” or “I appreciate you.”
Make it Personal. A handwritten “Thank You” will mean more to the person receiving it than an email, or a verbal expression of appreciation. Take time to write one out. Pick up a nice set of “Thank You” notes on some really nice paper. A good fountain pen can add the perfect touch to that “Thank You”.
Just do it! And when you do, you will find that you will feel better about things and so will those who are on the receiving end of your expression of thanks.
Dennis R. Gleason
West Suburban Office Product