10 Ways To Say Thank You Really Well
Saying thank you in a meaningful way can be hard. I have worked with and overseen hundreds of volunteers over the last six years. Not a week goes by that I don't feel incredibly grateful for the men and women who choose to serve others purely out of the goodness of their heart. I've watched them face big challenges, random tasks and upset people in stunning ways. How can you ever communicate to someone who goes above and beyond your expectations how much you really appreciate them? Yet I believe that great leaders should try to make gratitude a priority not out of a manipulating fear that they might leave, but out of a genuine desire to encourage simply because it is the right thing to do. Now, you may not have a team of volunteers, but I bet you have a good friend, parent, husband, outstanding son or a worthy employee that you probably want to thank. After all, the holidays are just ahead of us and most people will at least attempt something. So here are my top ten best ways to say "thank you" really well. All of them I've seen, experienced or have done myself and will vouch for their effectiveness.
1. Handwritten Note: The power of a card can't be overstated. When you take the time to sit down and write to a particular person a hand-written note sharing specifically what you appreciate about them, it can encourage them like nothing else. I have kept and treasured many such cards over the years and in turn have seen notes I've written others pinned to walls and kept on desks. Why? Because saying thank you in writing is a treasure worth keeping.
2. Party: Throwing someone a party is amazing! Why does someone have to wait until they retire to find out how much you appreciate them? Celebrate someone fearlessly or take any excuse you can. These days there's an appreciation day or month for just about anything. Pick one and celebrate that person with gusto!
3. Gift: Money is great, but a memento is better. In my office, I have mementos from different teams or organizations of which I've been a part. I cherish them, because unlike money, they represent the memory and experience of the people and relationships I had. Money is great, but an engraved compass or a group photo is better.
4. Time: Nothing says thank you like time. Time is the most valuable thing we have, so when we share it, it speaks volumes. Doing something or going somewhere just to be with someone can show them just how much you really appreciate who they are and what they do.
5. Hugs: I'm not a real "touchy feely" sort of guy and in many contexts a hug wouldn't be appropriate, but if it is, it can mean a lot. Just a shoulder squeeze and letting someone know that what they do really matters can make a hard job worthwhile. It lets someone know that you see them a person, not a number.
6. Public Compliment: Sometimes the people who never want recognition need it the most. A public word of praise can make it possible for others beyond yourself to join in thanking somebody and can even help create a culture of encouragement. At times, I've done this through certificates, some funny and others heartfelt. Either way, pursue public compliments instead of being deluged in a culture fearful of "tall poppies." Simply and genuinely celebrate the accomplishments and success of someone who did a good job.
7. Family: I love my family and when someone shows love towards them, I really appreciate it. Whether it's playing with my boys, complimenting my wife, or giving us a gift, I know that that person understands me. Intentionally blessing someone's family with a gift or inviting them along can make a lasting memory.
8. Eye Contact: Body language represents 55% of communication. If you're going to say thank you really well, you have to look the person in the eye so you can say thank with all that you are.
9. Be Specific: Vague compliments are sometime worse than silence. If you're going to thank someone, be sure to have thought about what you're going to say before opening your mouth.
10. Pray: Praying for someone is one of the best gifts you can give. Whether they are there in person or not, thanking God and praying for someone else's needs is a beautiful and meaningful gift.
As the Apostle Paul said, "Give honor to whom honor is due" and "outdo one another in showing honor." Don't be fearful about thanking someone this week. Step out and boldly thank someone, and when you do, be sure to do it really well.