Appreciation in Business: A Crime against Words of Affirmation

A Crime against Words of Affirmation

Appreciate you! Thanks bunches! Grateful man! Thank you very much!  Thanks for all you do!

Meaningless. Droll. Lifeless words that are crimes against affirmation.

This is what we see as common place phrases that are used to convey appreciation in business.

Are you guilty of these types of words of affirmation?

Have you been on the receiving end of one of those standard thank yous?

Would you much rather hear nothing than to receive this kind of thanks?

There are many who would agree with you:

And, then there are those that are more about action as opposed to words.

Would you rather hear someone’s appreciation or would you rather see it in acts and deeds?

Regardless of the delivery, for appreciation to be heard with the true intention that was meant to be delivered with it – it must be genuine.

Fake it and you’ll be dead in the water.

After reading Dr. Paul White’s and Dr. Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Languages of Appreciation, I’ve been on a mission to learn about how these are applied in business and more importantly how they are applied by the people who are face-to-face with customers and clients.

I’m interested in that intersection where knowledge becomes powerful – when it’s applied.

To assuage any possible association with these current crimes against affirmation in your appreciation:

  1. Be specific

This means that it’s more than just an “appreciate you”; “thanks bunches”; or even “muchas gracias”.

Specifically describe what it is the person did, said or a character trait about them that you are grateful for.

For example:

  1. Something they did:

“I appreciate you staying late and helping that customer with their questions.”

  1. Something they said:

“I appreciate you sharing your thoughts about our new signage.”

  1. A character trait:

“I appreciate that you take ownership of our workspace and care about if it’s kept clean and safe.”

When you’re specific, your appreciation is more terrific.

Okay, it may seem corny but it’s true.  When you can take the time to specifically list what it is that you appreciate, then the fact that you noticed and that it has some impact is communicated just by the mere fact that you mentioned it.

  1. Personal

“Thanks all y’all for everything you do.”

That’s pretty general. Very vague. And, feels like something that someone is just checking off their list of things to do for the day.

Yes, it’s also a little Texan. (And, I am Texan and feel comfortable in saying y’all – even professionally).

However, whatever regional phrases you use – Make sure your appreciation is very specific to that person.

Before you communicate your appreciation answer these questions:

  1. What did this particular person do or say that you are grateful for?
  2. What’s the best way this person likes to receive a genuine ‘thank you’?

Remember, some people like to be thanked publicly.  Others do not.

Some appreciate gifts, gift cards and even tickets to activities. Some do not and lose the cards or tickets. Or, they bury them away.

Some really like a little extra time to be heard and to make a difference.

Some like plaques and certificates. Some see those as a waste of time.

Do you know your team members or the people you connect with enough to know the best way that is meaningful to them to be appreciated?

  1. Focus on how it matters or makes a difference to you

All of us want to know that we’re valued and that we matter.

Do you want to ignite someone’s productivity, motivation and dedication? Let them know in all sincerity how they’ve made a difference in your life. For business, you might want to focus more on your “work life”.

Knowing this, you know that saying thanks – even as specific as possible – is not enough.  You need to share not only what you’re thankful for but also share how that’s made a difference in your life.

  1. Share how it matters or makes a difference to the company and your customers

How their action has made a difference to you as an individual is important. But, it also matters that they know how they make a difference to the company or to customers.

Here’s an example:

I appreciate that you took the time to help that customer with their individual questions.  It takes a load of my plate so that I can focus on growing the business. And, I know you make sure our customers feel heard and helped. Thank you!

Let your appreciation do more, mean more and be received by the person you’re giving it to with the same meaning and sincerity of the intent.

Comments ( 5 )
  • Personal Branding Weekly – Meaningless Appreciation Works against Your Brand | Personal Branding Blog - Stand Out In Your Career says:

    […] I shared some of the negative phrases that are seen as pithy or disingenuous in a recent post about Appreciation in Business: The Crimes against Words of Affirmation. […]

  • Paul White, Ph.D. says:

    Maria,

    I really like the way you break down the various ways to be specific in communicating appreciation to colleagues. Very helpful advice! Paul

  • Cathie Leimbach says:

    Maria, you have hit an important nerve. Flippant phrases are easy to say, but don’t make an emotional connection. They don’t do anything to make the receiver FEEL valued because spouting a few commonly used words took no thought on the part of the sender. Customizing messages to specifically say what we appreciate is relatively simple once we get a little practice serving other people’s needs. However, for others to feel that we authentically appreciate them we need to invest time and mental energy in developing our observation and positive communication muscles.

    • Maria Elena Duron says:

      Thank you, Cathie, for your insight and for taking the time to read and comment. I agree, it is a time investment. And, since people are often an integral part of our business, along with our lives, if we do have to invest that time – I choose people. I often find that the person who is doing the investing actually ends up to be the person who receives the greater reward.

The comments are now closed.