Vote Today for Say, Thanks, Every Day in the Great Johnny Bunko Challenge. (Voting closed 1/15/2009.)
The only common issue that I find in every organization is poor communication. The problem isn't that there are not good tools for communicating. Our communication means are the best that we've had in all human history.
Poor communication in business is a human relationship problem.
When we say "Thanks," we are communicating. Same is true for saying "You're welcome."
Let's ask what precisely are we communicating. Think for a moment about the situation when you say thanks.
- A waitress fills your water glass.
- Some holds the door open for you.
- You receive a compliment.
- You receive a gift.
- You get an answer to a question.
In each of these random situations there is an exchange between two people. Each action by the other person is an expression of some thought, whether conscious or not.
- The waitress is taking care of a need.
- The person holding the door open is practicing an honorable social etiquette.
- The compliment recognizes a contribution you've made.
- The gift is an act of love, or generosity.
- The answer is act of respect.
The simple act of saying Thanks, sort of a throw-away phrase most of the time, is actually a powerful catalyst for effective social interaction.
When I say thanks, I'm completing an exchange between myself and someone else. I'm communicating that I want the relationship to move forward.
Now, consider what happens when we don't say thanks.
1. The waitress doesn't feel any personal connection to her customers. As a result, her motivation to care for this guest in her restaurant is diminished. This is why hostmanship is such an important concept to grasp.
2. The person holding the door over time stops this practice. Doors get closed in people's faces. And we begin to blame others for the loss of social graces. In this instance, holding the door is more important for the door holder than for the one who benefits, because it is an act that affirms a core value of social etiquette. To stop this practice is to lose a part of oneself.
3. You stop receiving compliments because people recognize that you don't care what they think. If this is the case, then you are facing a future of increased isolation and diminishing prospects.
4. Gift giving becomes an obligatory, unwelcome task. Spontaneous giving ends because there is no joy created in the other person. The expression of joy is an expression of thanks in the context of giving gifts. Just watch over the next week as gifts are exchanged in work and family settings. Take note of those who are truly thankful for your gifts. See if those who are really thankful inspire in your thoughts of other gifts that you could give them that would bring them joy. We enjoy giving to those who are truly thankful, who receive the gift with gratitude and joy.
5. We don't get an answer to a question. We are ignored, or our question is cast off is ignorant or irrelevant. Our respect for that person diminishes. A distance grows between us. Respect is lost. A reputation is diminished.
The simple act of thanks is a key element in how we maintain healthy relationships. This holds true in any situation. We can easily see this in our family situations. But what of our business and professional relationships?
Saying thanks in a sincere, expressive manner communicates an affirmation of the other person. This gratitude is what allows for relationships in hard times to be sustained. It is a statement of recognize that person's contribution to your life.
Learn to be a self-conscious thanks-giver. It is the action that can begin a revolution in communication.
If you have not voted for Say, Thanks, Every Day, please do so now at the Great Johnny Bunko Challenge. (Voting has closed.) And thank you very much for doing so. Your vote sends a message to the world that giving thanks means something.