For all musicians who have listened to me extol the virtues of handwritten thank-you notes! -kh
From Campus to Career, by Kirk Baumann
The Power of Thank You
When was the last time you said thank you? If you can’t remember, then it’s been too long. I just started reading a book written by someone that I’ve met and have a great deal of respect for regarding their leadership. The book is Touchpoints by Douglas Conant (President and CEO, Campbell Soup Company) and Mette Norgaard. I’m not sure just yet if my article relates too much to the book (review will be posted soon), but I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Doug several times in my life and he’s always quick to thank others. In fact, he’s been known to hand write hundreds, if not thousands of thank you notes to his coworkers, fellow leaders, family and friends over the years. I consider myself lucky to have been a recipient of a few of those. All I can say is what a feeling!
Why say thank you? Well, for starters, it does matter. People want to be appreciated and with the rise of Gen Y, they want to know often if they’re doing a good job. How and when should you say thank you? Here are some examples:
Say thanks at work. As managers, we sometimes forget to say this. A small thank you here and there makes a big difference. Show your employees and coworkers you appreciate them. Don’t assume that someone else is taking care of recognition. Your thank you might be the only one they receive. NOTE: Thanking people for every little thing they do every day is over the top. It’s nice to be appreciated, but when the thank you’s flow too often, they become less meaningful. Thank people with a purpose.
Thank your network. In today’s connected world the posts to Facebook, comments on blogs, retweets and mentions on Twitter shouldn’t go unnoticed. Say thank you. Reply to the comments, thank those that mention you on Twitter and pay it forward by sharing one of their articles that are relevant.
Follow up with “thank you.” The first part of the last sentence was the keyword. Follow up. A thank you note or email after an interview, meeting at a career fair, or information session goes a long way. Use this opportunity to remind the person who you are, where you met them, and add a note about what you did based on your conversation (applied online as directed, read an article, etc.) This could be a handwritten note (makes a nice impression) or a simple, short email. Here’s a tip: You can’t follow up if you don’t get their business card or ask “How should I follow up?” You’d be amazed at how many people simply don’t follow through by following up.
Thank your influencers. I’m where I am today because of those that have influenced me over the years. They’ve told me to follow my passion, follow through, be bold, have fun, and that a little weirdness is okay. Taking the time to thank these people throughout my journey has been well worth it. Update your network and let them know that because of their support, you’re where you are today. Thank your teachers – knowing that their students are successful is one of the best rewards they could ask for. Over the years, I’ve been incredibly thankful for the things my parents, siblings and grandparents have taught me. Life is short and moves fast. Tell them thank you now.