How to Master the Art of Saying Thank You

art of saying thank you

Do you say “thank you” like you mean it or do you just say it casually and almost apologetically?

And when you thank someone just how appreciative are you really being?

There is an art of saying thank you and mastering this one skill will instantly make your day to day interactions with people deeper and richer.

The key is very simple – you really have to mean it when you say thank you!

People get it when you genuinely mean something and also when you are just going through the motions.

Put yourself on the receiving end of being thanked – I bet you remember well the few times when someone has truly shown their appreciation.

I shall always remember the day when I invited a new friend for dinner and she asked if she could bring something – I simply suggested she brought a huge appetite.

Yet, when she turned up she came laden with gifts – thank you card, flowers, a bottle of wine and something for dessert! It was so thoughtful and unexpected; to this day I still share her story like I am doing right now.

The most beautiful thing about truly thanking someone is that it creates a deeper and instant bond between people.

Many a time a harried shop assistant has been working for many hours and has to face demanding customers. Yet it will take very little on your part to improve his or her day by showing your appreciation.

When I visit the USA, I always smile when someone says to me – “Have a nice day!”

I used to think this was a bit corny, but now I know that the very act of saying this phrase does impact both people.

Here are my tips for mastering the art of saying thank you:-

1. Say thank you like you mean it

This is key – say it like you really mean it from your heart. Pause and even slow down your speech when you say the words.

Be vocal and voracious about conveying your thanks – don’t be shy.

“I would thank you from the bottom of my heart, but for you my heart has no bottom.” - Anonymous

2. Look for opportunities to thank others

It all comes down to living your life with an attitude of gratitude – and when you do so, you actively seek out opportunities to appreciate and thank people

“I feel a very unusual sensation – if it is not indigestion, I think it must be gratitude.” – Benjamin Disraeli

Every time someone does something for you, it’s an opportunity for you to thank them.

At the same time, do not confuse giving thanks and compliments with flattery. You should be positive, sincere and focused on something specific. For example, “You look radiant today”; “You sang really well today”.

Conversely, don’t be flippant when some one praises you or gives you a compliment. Instead of saying it’s nothing, just say “thank you”.

3. Look people in the eye

When you say thanks and look at people in the eye at the same time, your words will have great meaning.

I thought I was great at looking people in the eye but recently found that I hadn’t been doing it much recently.

Notice how much you actually look people in the eye – and learn to do so all the time.

Of course, you don’t stare intently as that could be a bit disconcerting and spooky!

4. Use their name

If you know their name, then do address them using their name. Most people who make your life so easy such as shop assistants usually have a name badge on for a reason – so you can get to now their name and get to know them better.

However most people don’t address shop assistants properly and just see them as somebody there to bag up their groceries. You will be surprised how much it means to them when you thank them and use their name at the same time.

If you don’t know their names, then it’s easy to find out – just ask.

5. Be specific about what you are thanking people for

Sometimes it means even more when people know what they are being thanked for e.g. Thanks so much John for bagging up my groceries.

It makes the whole exchange richer and more meaningful than just a casual “thanks”.

From today onwards, begin to find out the name of the people who serve you such as your postman and newsagent.

6. Send a thank you note or a gift

With the advent of email and text messages, people are far less personal in conveying their thanks.

If you can’t thank someone face to face in person, call and speak to them.

If you can’t see them or call them, then send them a hand-written note or a thank-you card. And if you feel the situation warrants it, then send a gift.

“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow” – Melody Beattie

7. Commend and refer people to others

One of the best ways of showing your appreciation for what someone has done for you is to refer their services to other people.

I have a health practitioner friend who was very supportive to me a few years ago, and to date I have referred her to dozens of new clients and that’s my way of thanking her.

You could also commend someone to their manager for something they have done for you.

The possibilities of praising someone and showing your appreciation directly and indirectly are endless.

Let’s create a crescendo of appreciation

You have a choice in how you behave towards others. You can be generous, considerate and caring to the people around you or you can be selfish, self centered and always put your own interests first.

“Every time we remember to say “thank you”, we experience nothing less than heaven on earth.”Sarah Ban Breathnach

Remember that when you are genuine and authentic and you mean it, people will get you.

A sincere compliment or even just acknowledging people’s presence can make a huge difference to them – and you.

Remind yourself that every interaction with another human being is a gift and an opportunity for growth and contribution.  Everyone you meet is an amazing teacher.

Let us all begin a crescendo of appreciation and thanking people from today.

And please do share below your experiences of the art of saying thank you.

Thank you:-)

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Comments

  1. You know, a was talking about this with a friend the other day. We came to the conclusion that people often say thank you without meaning it, out of courtesy. They use it too often, say it too fast and they trivialize it. But a thank you which is meaningful can put things right.

    • Eduard, the message that’s clearly coming through from your comments and others after you is that we all tend to say our thank yous to lightly and trivially.

      So even if we just say one thank you with deep meaning each day, that will make a big difference to someone.

  2. Arvind, I want to say a big Thank You to you for this article. I think it is absolutely wonderful!
    I remember when I worked in customer support for an online company I had to face different customers. there were two types that always stood out. The first type were the customers who were irritated, didn’t like anything (no matter what you do) and their purpose in life was to make everybody else inferior to them.
    The second type of customers were the most pleasant people who thanked and truly appreciated help and assistance that they were given. Working with these customers was a true pleasure and I felt so inspired after i heard that I managed to help them that day.
    But the first group of customers weren’t that bad either. My inner goal has always been to give them the best service and “make” them truly appreciate the help they were given. I must say that almost every time I managed to get the most sincere “thank you” and these thank-you-s have always been the most pleasant ones.

    I completely agree that being thankful and expressing it is extremely important to maintain a very warm atmosphere around you at any time. A simple “thank you” brings a ray of light into any day.

    Thank you!

    • Anastasiya, thanks for sharing your personal insights about the different ways people come across in the service sector.

      So often I find that when somene is being unpleasant they feel they have been wronged and by carefully listening for what they are NOT saying, I can get to the bottom of what’s causing their irritation.

      Anastasiya, wonderful that you strived and managed to transform your demanding customers. Maybe by the end of the call, they even felt guilty about being mean to you!

      I love your phrase – “A simple “thank you” brings a ray of light into any day”.

      Thank you:-)

  3. First of all thank you for this post. I used to work in sales, and the people that did what you metnioned above after I closed a deal I felt a stronger connection with that I can still remember their faces and how they made me feel to this day. I kept this in the back of my mind, and have to remind myself to do this in the present moment with the many people I come in contact with each day. :)

    • Baker, great lessons you have learnt from your prior role in sales.

      At the end of the day, people are just people and we are all the same – we simply want to be acknowledged and appreciated – and to know that we count.

      We need to know that we have a place in the world and that someone cares for us.

      I remember reading a very poignant story of Mother Teresa – her sisters brought a dying and sick man to her. He had been living in the streets and had been neglected and ignored all his life.

      As he was dying, his face lit up and he lived his last few hours on earth in bliss. His thanked Mother Teresa and said how all his life he had been neglected but now he was going do die amongst people who cared for him.

      It really, really, really doesn’t take much to make a difference to someone’s life.

  4. Thank you Arvind!

    I think that now we do so many transactions online and over the telephone, the thank you factor takes on a new meaning. It is so easy to assume that there is no ‘real’ human being at the end of the email, reolving your query.

    Yet a while back, I received some lovely customer service from someone in Ocado, so as well as thanking the person who helped me, I dropped an email to Ocado’s feedback line referencing the person and just saying what a great employee they were.

    To my surprise, they got back to me saying this had been fed back to the employee AND her manager! Since then I do this as often as I remember (not often enough, alas), in the hope to give someone even more of a boost (and hopefully help their career :)

    Does thank-you-by-proxy count?

  5. RT @ArvindDevalia: How to Master the Art of Saying Thank You http://is.gd/bkmGV

  6. How to Master the Art of Saying Thank You ~ http://ow.ly/1whUl

  7. RT @Mary_Jaksch: RT @ArvindDevalia: How to Master the Art of Saying Thank You http://is.gd/bkmGV

  8. Jonathan says:

    Gratitude is in short supply these days.

    Merci Arvind for this reminder! ;-)

    Jonathan

  9. Tania Psathas says:

    wonderful blog Arvind and so relevant. i too have been thinking about the meaning of saying thank you and how complacent i’ve gotten with it in the past. i try to stop now and really give that person my full attention and say it with meaning. how wonderful it feels. it gives both people a meaningful experience – soooo powerful! THANK YOU! :)

    • Tania, good to have you back on here after a while. Hope all is well down under and that you are on the road back to full health.

      Knowing you as well as I do, you probably already do live each day with gratitude for all you have and the people in your life:-)

      Thank YOU.

  10. Thank you Arvind for this heart-filling message. I especially appreciated your mention of the friend who arrived with armloads of gifts. I know someone just like her. I am thankful for her example. I also feel overwhelmed by her generosity, feeling I cannot possibly meet it from my direction. But maybe I don’t need to. Maybe she is called to do that and I reciprocate in other ways. Maybe you could do a post on THAT!

    Thank you, thank you, and I send you a thousand smiles.

  11. Great post Arvind! Gratitude is something that has become a part of everyday life for me starting when I read Sarah Ban Breathnach book.

    I must “thank you” to you for your great posts! You are inspiring. I’m going to recommend your blog on the blog roll that I’m putting together for a post next week.

  12. Arvind,

    Saying thank you properly is a lost art! When I was growing up, sending a thank you card was as much of a requirement as brushing my teeth. Saying thank you is a form of mindfulness for the self and acknowledgment of the one being thanked. We mindfully feel gratitude and acknowledge someone for what has been given. I think it’s a beautiful synchronicity. It’s a shame to let one action happen without the other. Thank you so much, Arvind, for reminding us of this. Your writing is a blessing.

    Barrie

  13. RT @ArvindDevalia: How to Master the Art of Saying Thank You http://is.gd/bkmGV

  14. RT @ArvindDevalia: How to Master the Art of Saying Thank You http://is.gd/bkmGV #FF

  15. Arvind,

    This simple gesture, being appreciative, I feel, is so important to forming bonds with others. I have noticed that when I go into the prison, or anywhere for that matter, I have so many people whom I enjoy interacting with. I really think it is because I have taken time to cultivate those relationships.

    I enjoy these people and regardless of how busy I am I try to remember to stop and attend to them. While I have moments when I forget and become a bit frazzled, I try to catch myself quickly
    and come back to center.

    Even if I’m in a coffeehouse engaged in my work, when someone approaches me I always stop what I am doing and relate with them.

    To me, that is similar to thank you. It is about acknowledging and showing an interest in others. Saying thank you sincerely is one way to do that.

    My perspective is my work can wait, people are what is most important. Relationships are everything. They bring such joy. I truly enjoy my days at work and have an opportunity to interact with so many wonderful people.

    I find that when we treat others with regard and interest, they love to interact. It is fun and uplifting to me.

  16. Kavit Haria says:

    This is like the art of gratitude. It is the most amazing and important thing ever! I feel that having gratitude can transform your life. Wake up every day feeling grateful for the people and things in your life and you will feel transformed.

    -Kavit

  17. RT @ArvindDevalia: How to Master the Art of Saying Thank You http://is.gd/bkmGV

  18. One can’t say thank you enough or with too much meaning. I was in the grocery store last night and went to get a grocery cart. There was a man in front of me and he turned around and pushed a cart directly at me. I said, “Oh thank you…is this for me?” And he said not the tires don’t work well on it! And I said, “well I’m just going to pretend it was meant for me!”

    I thought that would make a bigger impact than shooting back something that was also rude. Hopefully he recognized what he could do better the next time.
    There isn’t enough gratitude in the US that’s for sure.

  19. Arvind, thank you, and thank you. I very much appreciate your important reminder of ways we can genuinely express thank you. And I would like to add that for me one of the most powerful ways to become more aware of gratitude is to say thank you for my natural rhythms and my inner and outer nature. When we sense gratitude just in being alive in the greater web of life, it helps cultivate an awareness and connection, not just with other people, but with all living entities we encounter. Grounded in this deep gratitude we seem more able to move through our days with gentleness and appreciation. Saying thank you from the heart becomes so easy and joyful because the authentic heart lives and loves in one great thank you.

    Thanking you again from the mountains of Japan – Catrien Ross.

  20. Gratitude is one key to successful #career mgmt RT @maltaee RT @ArvindDevalia How to Master the Art of Saying Thank You http://is.gd/bkmGV

  21. Hi Arvind,

    A while back I wrote a similar post on communication. But, I really like this one. May I use it giving you credit and a link back to you. I will only copy part and then tell readers if they want to read the rest to go to your site as well. Do we have a deal. Oh, thank you for your always encouraging and uplifting posts. You write some things that really hit home with me and you outline it so well.

    Take care,
    CC

    • Hi CC,

      Trust you are well!

      Yes, of course you may use the post as you wish. Do let me know when it’s up:-)

      Good luck with everything.

      Love and best wishes.

      Arvind

  22. RT @ArvindDevalia: How to Master the Art of Saying Thank You http://is.gd/bkmGV

  23. How to Master the Art of Saying Thank You http://bit.ly/a0g6F7

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