As part of our series on Giving Thanks we’ll discuss how acknowledgement is good. People like to be seen and heard. Being able to acknowledge someone is a moment of gratitude, and moments of gratitude are a blessing. If you are fortunate enough to have an opportunity to say “thank you” – that means that you have been a recipient of something. It’s also a gift that you can give to others.
We’re not trying to get sappy on you here, but in business, you can really make yourself stand out by this very simple service gesture: acknowledgement and gratitude.
Here are some simple ways to create opportunities for acknowledgment and give credit where it’s due!
Need to know? Ask. Also, share and speak up.
If you’ve followed any of our writing, you know we value discretion and strategic release of information (click here for Don’t Be So Revealing on The Agency Post). However, equally valuable is knowing when to talk to people. Sharing allows for new ideas, establishing partnerships and collaborations, and possibly an opportunity to show appreciation to someone else during or post-conversation. Sometimes you’ll have information that someone needs to hear, or by opening up the conversation, you’ll find what you needed to hear…then the thank fest begins!
I can recall going to one of my mentors for her candid opinion. On the surface, it didn’t seem significant enough to ask because I knew she had more important things to tend to and I didn’t want to be a bother. As she was giving me her advice, mid-way through the conversation, she thanked me for asking her opinion. Not only did she have important feedback for me (that saved me an amount that included a comma!), she was happy to share it with me and point me in the right direction. I learned a lot that day, too and was grateful that I took the time to ask, had someone to ask and received a great deal of intel in the process.
Pay attention to others
Many people think they do it all on their own. It’s especially easy for entrepreneurs and business owners to feel this way on occasion. After all, ultimately business owners are responsible for…everything: accounting, payroll, human capital, client satisfaction, employee retention, etc. This is why it’s important to have a good network, and also to remember those around you. Think about the people around those tasks you’re knocking out, from your employees to your vendors. If you can’t recall the last time you’ve said “thanks,” even if it’s a quick e-mail or phone call, you can do that now. A friend of mine is writing a book (we’ll be able to share soon as it’s going to be fabulous!) and already she’s thinking of her credits page. Those people along the way she’ll have to thank for contributing in their own way. It’s not just because she’s thoughtful, but the fact that she’s paying attention to others as she’s moving through her writing process will make sure she has everyone acknowledged when this fantastic piece of work is done (plus it’ll save her time from trying to remember everyone when she’s in production and perhaps prevent her from leaving anyone out).
You can also find unique ways to say “thank you” to those you appreciate. Our media partner, VERTICAL Tampa Bay has a section in the back of their publication called, “People Who Rock,” where they give thanks to their friends and supporters. I’ve had the privilege of being listed on that page as, “The one and only Nancy Vaughn.” (Thank you, VERTICAL Tampa Bay!) I’m not always sure what I’ve done (or maybe it’s because I’m driving them crazy, I mean, we do have some cool clients!), but it’s their line of thoughtfulness and credit to me in a unique way. And people notice as I’ve been told, “I see that line in VERTICAL every issue and I wonder, ‘what’d she do now?!’” That last line there is said with loving snark, but I’ll take it ; )
Link back: Track your degrees (of separation)
Most of us know that when it comes to writing an article or blog post, it’s often appropriate to link back providing credit, recognizing a person, photo, idea, thought or inspiration as necessary. This should happen in the flesh though as well.
In business and life, I’ve had the privilege of hearing wonderful advice or helpful hints from women and men I’ve come into contact with. When appropriate, I’ll share these pieces of wisdom with others and attribute credit. Years ago I was talking to a woman about networking, and she made a comment to me that I’ve remembered for years. She said, “The older you get, the more people you know.” And she added ‘by default really, because you’ve just lived longer, and the more people who will know you.’ (Thanks, Karen!) Simple enough, and it stuck with me. In the most basic sense, about networking, but in another sense, all the different types of people you come to know and encounter over a lifetime.
My journalism background has taught me the value of accuracy in the relaying of information and citing my sources. This requires a good memory for some people, but you can also simply write things down in a business journal. It doesn’t have to be cumbersome to keep track of all of your contacts and those you meet along the way, but if there’s something that stands out for you, jot it down. You might have someone to thank later on when you’re revisiting…even if it’s a silent bit of gratitude out in the universe.
Set a gratitude goal
Giving credit is really an easy thing to do, so easy that it’s often forgotten. Not necessarily due to lack of desire or appreciation, but the frenzied pace of the day has some things falling through the cracks. Just like everything else, you might have to schedule your ‘thanks.’ Set a gratitude goal a couple times a week or month. Plan a time where you’re going to write thank you notes or look to acknowledge someone for their contributions or hard work. We were reminded of the importance of this when a woman from an award-winning networking group (Congrats, Jessica of Working Women of Tampa Bay! And thank you!) shared how she made it a goal to write recommendations for each of her speaker participants after her conference. It was her way of going the extra mile in acknowledging the speakers and saying thanks.
The whole world is filled with opportunity, to give and receive thanks and credit. Three last things:
1) Your gratitude should be genuine and tied to no expectations. You’ll receive benefits from acknowledging others, however, you’ll save yourself a headache (and some cases heartache) if you’re grateful with no expectations.
2) It’s not always people you will thank. We believe inspiration can come from others and should be acknowledged, and we also believe in original ideas. Sometimes you may pull inspiration from or come up with an idea after taking a walk, listening to your favorite song, being rejuvenated and resting. Give the experience some gratitude!
3) What if you forget to thank someone? Do it when you remember. What if too much time has gone by? Find another way to show your appreciation or do something good for someone else in their honor. And what if you were the one who didn’t get credited? In some cases, you might have to speak up. Let’s say if you were supposed to receive your $1,000 discount for being such a great customer. Now is not the time to be shy! But maybe it’s the busyness of the day and your friend, colleague, etc. has inadvertently forgotten. Thank yourself and be grateful for the opportunity to be able to have been able to do something nice for others.
Do you think it’s important to give credit to others? Acknowledge their contributions? What creative ways has your work been acknowledged or recognized? How have you recognized others’ work?
And thanks to you for reading! Until next week!
Image courtesy of StockVault