Showing gratitude often, and preferably in writing, is one key to success
Melanie Warner Spencer is editor of New Orleans Bride and New Orleans Homes & Lifestyles and managing editor of Louisiana Life and Acadiana Profile. Spencer’s ever-expanding library of etiquette books is rivaled only by her ever-ready stash of blank thank-you notes.
illustration by Tony Healey
Think gratitude doesn’t matter in an interview? Think again. Almost 70 percent of hiring managers and recruiters said that receiving a thank-you note from a job applicant after an interview impacted their decision-making process, according to a 2017 survey by TopResume.com.
That same survey went on to say that, “in fact, nearly one in five interviewers have completely dismissed a candidate because they didn’t receive a thank-you email or note after an interview.”
Talk about an easy way to increase your chances of a callback!
Savvy business people know, however, that writing notes of appreciation — especially handwritten notes — shouldn’t stop after the interview process.
In an Oct. 17, 2017 Entrepreneur.com excerpt from his book, “The Emigrant Edge: How to Make it Big in America,” author and business coach Brian Buffini wrote about a practice he learned from listening to a 1992 interview with then-President George H.W. Bush. Buffini wrote that Bush was asked, What’s the one thing you’ve done in your life to make you so successful? Bush responded that for 25 years he had written at least 10 personal notes a day “to people he’d recently met, those who came to mind or correspondents who had written to him.” The insight inspired Buffini to begin writing thank-you notes. It soon became an integral part of his professional and personal life.
“Make acknowledging and thanking people part of your daily routine,” Buffini advised. “Just like brushing your teeth or writing tomorrow’s to-do list, it will become automatic.”
In business, there are several reasons you might want to send a thank-you or appreciation note. Consider sending one to a colleague, client, networking contact, mentor or another professional any time they do something for you. This could include giving advice, making a referral, assisting on a project, doing a great job on some task or offering direct assistance with your career.
Like many business coaches, CEOs and etiquette writers, Buffini advocates for the handwritten note because it stands out among other paper mail and therefore makes you stand out among your peers (and competition). That said, it is important to consider your audience and their industry. If it seems antiquated to send a handwritten note to someone in the tech industry, maybe then it’s fine to stick with email.
Sales and success coach Brian Tracy writes and speaks frequently about the importance of showing appreciation to everyone around you at all times, noting that it’s both empowering for the “thank-ee” and a self-esteem builder for the “thank-er.”
“Always show appreciation,” he wrote on his blog at BrianTracy.com. “Every time you thank another person, you cause that person to like themselves better. You raise their self-esteem and improve their self-image. You cause them to feel more important. You make them feel that what they did was valuable and worthwhile. You empower them.”
He goes on to say that when we thank others, we feel better inside, happier and more content with our own lives. It’s that “attitude of gratitude” we are always hearing so much about and, while it might sound a little cheesy or Pollyanna-ish, it works. Buffini, and probably every other success coach out there, shares the philosophy. My guess is they were all inspired by the godfather of success books himself, Napoleon Hill, whose “Think and Grow Rich,” written in 1937, is still an integral tome in the self-improvement and personal development realm.
I’ll leave you with a few words from Buffini that, in my mind, would be right at home in the Napoleon Hill playbook:
“It’s fair to say that gratitude is good for business,” Buffini writes. “But, better than that, it’s good for you, it’s a great way to live and it’s the foundation for living the good life.”
I don’t know about you, but I have a few thank-you cards to write.
Submit business etiquette questions to Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.