If a picture is worth a thousand words, what is a simple word of thanks worth? I like this quote from Voltaire: “Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”
Giving that unexpected thanks can make someone’s day and gain a customer for life. Last year, I was on a search for a new hair stylist after my stylist of 13 years moved away. You can only imagine this VIP task. After visiting Brooke at The Parlour Denver and a fabulous haircut, I received a written thank you note…in the mail. Really! I’ve referred a dozen people to her. I hope she never moves, leaves or changes her career, or I will be devastated.
I often meet with recent graduates seeking to get their foot in the door for public relations and am surprised at the lack of basic follow-up etiquette. More than half never say thank you, even via email. Less than a third send a thank you note. Guess what? Their resume and future referrals go in the “round receptacle.” I’ve had to tell job seekers to ask for business cards when meeting with people and to follow up with a written thank you note. It surprises me that everyone hasn’t read, or at least heard of, Emily Post.
If you take the time to network for a new job, pitch new business, expand existing business, etc., say thanks and pay attention to the other small stuff. When was the last time you had a live conversation rather than an all e-mail correspondence day? Here’s an idea: pick up the phone. Do you celebrate your colleagues’ and clients’ birthdays? Remember to ask about an anniversary or other holiday functions when a colleague or client mentions it in a prior meeting? And lastly, be present! I’m all for multitasking, just not in meetings – though I am a frequent violator of my own good advice. Try going to your next meeting sans your technology. Take a pen and paper for notes. It will do your brain good, as well as serve as an example to those around you.
Other articles on keeping things simple and minding your manners:
• Boston Globe: When are invited to a business meal, mind your manners
• Harvard Business Journal: Business Etiquette Can Shape Firm’s Reputation
• Inc. Magazine article on “10 ways to Support Your Best Customers”
• Two Seconds (from Seth Godin’s blog)