Gratitude seems to be a rare or discounted commodity. In our time deprived, hyper-connected world, we may text a quick “thx” or smiley face and go on our way. And, practices like that make us like everyone else – just average.
How do you stand out in someone’s mind? How do you engage and inspire them to speak positively on your behalf? You must be more than average for anyone to step out, risk their reputation and advocate for you.
Today’s busy schedules often leave little time for enriching people’s lives – our own included. Connecting can occur because of a sense of obligation to recognize important events, or it can simply result from an act that we’re grateful for. Sometimes one person connecting with another will set off a boomerang effect of gratitude and reaching out!
As a brand, we want to be visible. It is necessary before being memorable, engaged or advocated for. A recent study by the Greeting Card Association, found that only 3% of Americans send thank you notes or cards. Imagine if you incorporate gratitude into your personal brand communication plan. When does appreciating lead to advocating?
Appreciating, acknowledging and advocating
1. When it’s personal
Anytime that someone assists you, supports you, advocates for you – then send a thank you note. Make this an important part of your daily brand communication plan. Your notes do not have to be long. In fact, three sentences in a handwritten note and handwritten envelope will be most impactful! Just make sure those three sentences are very personal to whatever you’re thanking them for.
2. When it’s sincere
Be sincere and authentic in your thank you (anything else will smell like a hidden agenda that anyone will steer clear of.)
3. When it’s timely
Saying ‘thank you’ at anytime is appreciated – especially since there are so few who actually engage in saying or documenting gratitude. Yet, when it’s in a timely fashion it’s more effective and memorable. It’s more about how genuine it feels to the other instead of feeling it was done out of obligation.
4. When it’s organic – not expected
This applies to so many more interactions than expressions of gratitude – don’t tell us what you’re going to do – just do it. I’ve seen too many not know what to do with “moments of silence” that they fill it with listings of what they’re going to do next. Be it departing an interview or disengaging from someone that you’ve met at a networking event, they will say things like, “I’ll send you a thank you note so you’ll remember who I am” or “expect a thank you note from me – that just how I roll.” That really is TMI! Just do it. The unexpected, genuine, timely, sincere thank you means much more than promises of its pending arrival.
Maria Elena Duron | chief buzz officer, speaker and coach focused on helping you move, touch and inspire others to action and speak positively on your behalf at buzz2bucks | word of mouth firm. She is one of the creators of #brandchat, a weekly twitter conversation about all aspects of branding. Duron will speak at the 2009 Massachusetts Conference for Women.