5 Ways to Communicate Appreciation in Networking

Communicating genuine appreciation has been on my mind lately.

And, it’s a good thing since I appreciate any opportunity to focus on the good and the good things of connecting with other people

In networking with others, it is about forming friendships and alliances.  It is about seeing who is a good fit with your values, your business and your business goals.

Realistically we know that good networking takes work.

When someone’s taken the time to meet with you, converse with you or carry a conversation further than a mixer, how do you communicate appreciation in a way that meaningful to them and therefore more valuable?

#1 – Write your appreciation to them

A handwritten note still speaks volumes and is valued more than a quick thank you email, text or even a voice message of thanks.

Why E-Mail Will Never Replace the Handwritten Note

The Forgotten Power of Handwritten Notes

Some things are not meant to be simply digital.

When writing out your appreciation, it doesn’t need to be lengthy it just needs to be specific and personal.

Identify what it is that they did that you appreciate.  It’s not enough just to say “I appreciate you” or “Thank you”.  Take the time to be specific and identify what it is they did.

Then, go into how it helped you and then in the last sentence how it made a difference.

The structure is this by each sentence is:

  1. Thank them and state what you are specifically thanking them for
  2. How that has helped you.
  3. How it has made a difference.

For example:

“Thank you for taking the time to chat on the phone with me today.  You really helped me to understand what the holidays mean for your business.  Your insights really give me a better understanding of your schedule and give me some ideas on how I can help save you time.  Thank you for your help!”

#2 – Spend some quality time with your contact

All though handwritten notes are by far the most popular and meaningful way to express sincere appreciation to a networking connection – they are not the only way.  And, they are not always the best.

For some, having someone spend some uninterrupted quality time with them can say “thank you” more than any note could.

This could happen as a group like at a sports game or event. Or, even a group of connections going to lunch together.

Or, it could take place one-on-one as a meeting or even over coffee.

For some, just having someone slow down long enough to hear them and to value their time or company, is the highest form of appreciation they could ever receive.

Nothing says “I appreciate you” more than an investment of your time, especially because everyone knows how busy you are.

#3 – Do something that they want done for them in return

Have you ever heard the term – words are cheap?

Or this one – actions speak louder than words?

Those come from someone who would feel appreciated when someone provide an act of service to them to helpout.

Imagine that a networking contact of yours who has truly been helpful to you is completely swamped with work and cannot even get a chance to check a sporting schedule or potentially a great restaurant s/he would like to take the family to.

What if you went ahead and research the schedule and sent it to them?  Or found some great reviews on family friendly restaurants and sent that link to them or even provided them a contact name/phone number of someone at that restaurant.

Sometimes those kind acts of service are exactly the language of appreciation that someone would here.

Recently, I spoke at an event and was in the buffet line with a fellow speaker who within our 10 minutes in the line provided such a wealth of knowledge to me that I was genuinely grateful.  I then asked him what he was working on that I might be able to help with because I did appreciate his willingness to help me and answer my questions so thoroughly.  He responded that he was working on his first book and provided me some details.   I sent him a book on how to get started and the name of a book writing coach and publicist that could help him.  He called me and said what I provided him just really showed him how grateful I was for his help.

#4 – Gifts can show them how appreciative you are.

Not everyone is excited about receiving gifts.  But for those who are, be sure that the gift is specific to them. Sending golf balls to someone who doesn’t golf, is not a great way for you to show your appreciation and value for them.

If you send them specialty coffee and they’re not a coffee drinker, it could potentially hurt the relationship mores that it would nurture it leaving them feeling like you really don’t know them and you haven’t really been paying attention or listening to them.

The Problem with Gifts of Appreciation

#5 – Attaboys, Fist-bumps and Pats on the back

These are normally spontaneous but remember to give someone something like these after you know what they prefer.

Extending a fist bump to someone who’s not familiar with a fist bump can be quite awkward.

Fist bumps can’t replace handshakes: Your Say

Keep these five ways that your appreciation can be heard and received with the gratitude that you intended.

Any others’ that you’ve come across not mentioned here?

Please mention them in the comment section below.

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