As we wrap up Thanksgiving weekend and look toward the holiday season, this seems an appropriate time to talk about “Thank you.’’
Appreciating others and what they do for you is such a simple, positive thing, yet people are always asking questions such as, “Do I have to write a thank-you note?’’ or “Is it OK to send an e-mail thanks?’’
To answer these questions, take a moment and shift your attitude from thinking of “thank you’’ as an obligation to thinking of it as an opportunity.
As an obligation, thanking someone is something we have to do. And when we “have’’ to do something, we tend to put it off in favor of things we like to do. So the likelihood of the thank you being done diminishes the more it feels like an obligation.
When thanking someone is seen as an opportunity, however, it becomes something we want to do. And when we want to do something, we are more likely to make the effort to do it.
Saying “Thank you’’ for the meal you just enjoyed or the gift you just received, especially at this holiday time, acknowledges the effort a person has made on your behalf. People like to be appreciated. They are more likely to want to make that effort for you again if they are appreciated rather than ignored. So it’s to your benefit to thank them.
How can you be sure your thanks demonstrates your appreciation? Of course, you can thank them as you leave the meal or when they put a gift in your hands. The heartfelt thank you, the one they will remember, is the second thank you make the next day.
You pick up your phone and call, or write an e-mail, or best yet, with pen in hand, write a thank-you note. When they receive that handwritten note, they read it and then enjoy it time and again when they see it on their refrigerator, counter, or desk. However you choose to do it, thank them that second time because you want to, because you view it as an opportunity to be appreciative.
E-mail questions about business etiquette to firstname.lastname@example.org.