Influence is as simple as taking the time to say “Thank You”.
A couple of years ago I arranged a morning tea for some small group coordinators who came every week into a local high school. These were volunteers who were giving freely of their time to assist high school students and I just wanted to say thank you for the great work they were doing. So I asked a friend in the school administration if we could order some sandwiches and a few plates of cakes from the school canteen. When I arrived at the room where the morning tea was set up I was very impressed with the effort the canteen staff had put into fulfilling my simple request. We had a wonderful morning tea and everyone was suitably fed and thanked.
Immediately afterwards I sought out my friend in the administration and asked her if I could have a quick word with the canteen staff. She was busy but showed me the way down to the canteen. I knocked on the door, introduced myself and simply said to the the four ladies working in there, “I really appreciate the incredible effort you have made to make sure the food for our morning tea was excellent. Everyone really enjoyed the food and I am just stopping by to say a big thank you.” With that I smiled, wished them a great day, and left.
An hour or so later I received a phone call from my friend in the school administration. “What did you say to those canteen staff?” she asked. I was a little puzzled and replied, “Why do you ask?”
“Well the woman in charge has come up to see me in tears saying how much they valued your words of thanks this morning. It made their day. In fact, I think you can have whatever you want anytime from our canteen”, she joked.
It made me realise how simple it is to be an encouragement. And how easy it is to be generous. And how little effort it really does take to be an influence for good on people around us every day.
The crazy thing is so few people actually stop and make the effort to say ‘thank you’. These canteen staff were moved to tears and added that it was the first time anyone had ever made the effort to enter into their world to say ‘thank you’. Sadly, they were used to their efforts going totally unappreciated.
I must admit I am often too wrapped up in my own thoughts and busyness to even notice the efforts of others, let alone thank them. I learned a valuable lesson that day. Influence can be as simple as saying ‘thank you’.
My hunch is that people who do make the effort to stop and say a genuine ‘thank you’ stand out in the crowd. In giving thanks and encouragement you in turn will be noticed, appreciated and have people more likely to want to know you….all of which is the basis of good relationship…..and relationship is the basis for networking, referals, influence and everything else that makes life and business work well.
When was the last time you went out of your way to say a simple ‘thank you’ to someone you appreciated?
Influence is easier than you may have imagined.
A good story John which illustrates an important point. We can get stuck in the push for increased perfomance and can fail to appreciate the effort being made to achieve the current level of output.
Good stuff John.
Some time back in 1983 I was working for a professor in a university. This prof send me to ICI for a 20 litre "free sample" of Polyethylene 600. Their secretary told me that they had to take the 20 litres out of a 600 gallon tank. The prof never thanked ICI for their services.
So I thanked them by making a Thank You card and sent it to them with a Thank You note.
A few days later their secretary send me a Thank You card in return for expressing my appreciation of their valuable services. She quoted that too many people took it for granted that samples from ICI were simply for free.
The secretary again expressed her thanks for my appreciation of their generosity.
ps The 20 litres of PE600 was worth $400.00