Why do I call it an art? There’s no art behind being thankful. Anyone can do it, right? Anyone can be thankful but expressing the thanks in a meaningful way (to the recipient) is an art. In this case I’m not talking about the medium, I’m referring to the message.
If you want your appreciation to be heard over all of the noise, it must be remarkable. (Read Seth’s post on becoming remarkable if you need some help.) Telling your members you’re thankful for renewing their dues or attending an event is common courtesy and doesn’t register in their minds as anything more than good manners. Communicating to your volunteers in generic messages like “thanks for all you do,” is, indeed, common. To make a difference and drum up that warm feeling we all love, try the following three tips:
1. Express exactly what you are thankful for in specific terms. Phrases like “all you do” are quickly forgotten and make the receiver feel a little taken for granted. All I do? You can’t even enumerate what that is, I do so much. Be exacting in your thanks. Make the same impression on them that their actions made on you.
2. Single people out whenever possible but don’t leave people out. This tip is easier said then done. When we thank multiple people in front of large groups we have a tendency to forget even the most crucial people on the project. If you know you’ll forget someone, use a teleprompter or forgo the listing of names in large crowds and find the people who made a difference afterwards. Thank them from a smaller platform, like on-on-one. It will mean more than a named cattle call anyway.
3. Give your thanks wings and a bullhorn. Tell them and tell everyone else. If someone did something special for you, let others know. After you’ve thanked them personally, thank them via social media, at meetings, in conversations with others. Make them realize that their contribution meant more to you than one mention can express.
Since it is that time of year, I would like to add my thanks. At the risk of leaving someone off and being slightly generic — I would like to thank all of you in the industries we serve; those who chose our product as their solution and those who didn’t. I’ve appreciated the conversations and the opportunities to learn from you. Your candid answers and informative blog posts have shaped my opinions (in some cases) and challenged them in others. I look forward to the coming year that we may continue our exchange. Thank you for your greatness.