Dress Up Your Naked Thank You’s!

As a small child I was taught to say “thank you” as an automatic response, a knee-jerk verbal reflex to smooth social interactions.  A kindergartner who says “thank you” at the appropriate time is to be commended!  Personally, I say “thank you” quite often—to the checkout person at the store, to the lady who cuts my hair, and even to my son when he takes out the garbage.  But, maybe it’s time I matured beyond the kindergarten-level of expressing gratitude.

After listening to a friend, Mark Ziegler, present a talk this weekend on forgiveness and gratitude, I have come to realize that I could express my gratitude in a much more powerful way.  Or, as author Leil Lowndes mentions in her book  How to talk to anyone : 62 little tricks for big success in relationships,  I need to “dress up” my “naked” thank you.

 A dressed-up thank you gives a specific reason, a why, for the thanks. It makes the recipient feel like you have specially recognized their effort and aren’t just automatically mouthing the expected words.

 Dressing up a thank you is as simple as adding a phrase about why you are thankful, “thank you for. . .”  For maximum power, you also can compliment the recipient of your thanks and possibly shape future behavior.

In his presentation, Mark gave an example of a dressed-up thank you: 

“For example, if my son takes out the garbage without being told. . .after I recover from the shock. . .I might say, ‘Thank you for taking out the garbage.  You are becoming more responsible.’”

Don’t have “naked” thank-you’s!  Dress them up by at least adding a reason, a “thank you for. . .”  Consider how the effort for which you are grateful may translate into the wider scheme of life and compliment as you give thanks.


About Diane Windingland
I speak for organizations that want their people to have better, more profitable conversations.

2 Responses to Dress Up Your Naked Thank You’s!

  1. Mark says:

    Thank you Diane, your insights are kind and creative.

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