Updated: Aug 27, 2019
I love saying thank you. I say it all they time. I think showing appreciation is very important, for a couple of reasons. First, I want to make sure people know that I'm grateful for things people do, say or are in my life. Second, I say it because it's important to me to remember things of which I should be grateful. So, verbalizing that gratitude helps me remember.
I started wondering if my verbal appreciation was really being felt by the recipient or if my "thank you" had become lost in the minutia of the conversation. So, I wanted to find a way to ensure my gratitude was impactful.
I found a great book called The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace. The book specifically discussed the different needs people have in the way they receive appreciation. Some people prefer a physical token, a gift card or a company t-shirt, while other people appreciate a gesture, catering lunch for the department, while others want to be given the gift of time, a day off or the opportunity to leave early. The book helps its reader understand 5 different ways that different people may feel appreciated. There is even an assessment you can use with your staff that will provide you with information on how to best express your appreciation so it is received. Check out their website: http://mbainventory.com/
I agree that different people have different needs. I recently sent a staff member a personal email thanking her for her participation in a meeting. She had done a fabulous job. In the email, I wrote very specific items that I appreciated about her performance. She came down to my office and thanked me for thanking her. She was grateful that I took the time to be specific in my note. For her, a written thank you was fine, but specificity was the key.
Think about the people in your world. How do they respond when you show appreciation in different ways. Does a note get a smile or is it dismissed? Does a hug or a touch on the shoulder make people feel special? Or are tangible gifts a necessity?
If you want your gratitude to truly be felt, you must speak the other person's language. Work to learn more about people that are important to you. The invested time will create better relationships, trust and communication.