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  • Personal Branding Weekly – Meaningless Appreciation Works against Your Brand

    Sad Businessman photo from ShutterstockWe’ve all been at the receiving end of a meaningless ‘thank you’ or ‘appreciate you’.

    When appreciation is insincere, it’s received negatively. It actually has the opposite effect than what may have been the original intention.  Or, even worse, it’s seen as manipulative.

    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.

    In business, it’s even met with a more cautious demeanor.  According to a survey by the John Templeton Foundation of West Conshohocken, PA, the workplace ranks dead last among the places people express gratitude, from homes and neighborhoods to places of worship. Only 10% of adults say thanks to a colleague every day, and just 7% express gratitude daily to a boss.

    It matters because when people don’t feel genuinely appreciated, according to Dr. Paul White and Dr. Gary Chapman, co-authors of The 5 Languages of Appreciation, there are:

    1. Higher rates of tardiness
    2. More absenteeism
    3. Higher turnover rate
    4. More conflict

    It’s also important to recognize that appreciation and recognition are not one in the same.

    And, because it is still unusual in most businesses, supervisors new at expressing appreciation may come across as awkward which might be misread as insincerity.

    In the post I wrote, I went into greater detail and a specific how-to, step-by-step approach of communicating appreciation.  Here’s a quick outline of what you can do to make your words communicate genuine appreciation in a way that is meaningful.

    1. Be specific.
    2. Make it personal.
    3. Focus on how it matters or makes a difference to you.
    4. Share how it matters or makes a difference to the company.

    Also, be aware that as you become more aware of how appreciation is communicated and received that there is still history in relationships. Keep in mind that appreciation can be seen as false if you:

    • Ignore tension in a relationship with a colleague and communicating appreciation anyway.
    • Move from a difficult conversation to encouragement too quickly.
    • Change from virtually no communication at all to a lot of positive communication in a short time period.
    • Give positive messages with your words but your facial expression, tone of voice and gestures communicate a different message.

    How do you avoid these?

    1. Check your motives.
    2. Check the context.

    What if you’re on the receiving end of appreciation delivered in a meaningful way?

    1. Try to stop from jumping to the conclusion that the person is being manipulative. Sometimes expressing appreciation can feel awkward to the unpracticed.
    2. Take the lead on communicating the importance of appreciation. There are lots of great videos here that can help introduce the concept that we all receive appreciation in different ways.

    Our hope and focus here at the Personal Branding Blog is to provide you with the best information to manage your personal brand. Here’s the topics and helpful tips we shared this past week:


    Maria Elena Duron, is managing editor of the Personal Branding Blog, CEO (chief engagement officer) of buzz2bucks– a word of mouth marketing firm, and a professional speaker and trainer on developing social networks that work. She provides workshops, webinars, seminars and direct services that help create conversation, connection, credibility, community and commerce around your brand.  Maria Duron is founder and moderator of #brandchat- a weekly Twitter chat focused on every aspect of branding that is recognized by Mashable as one the 15 Essential Twitter Chats for Social Media Marketers.

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