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Monday, March 19, 2012

THE ART OF THANK YOU

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Just when you have about given up on the younger generation, something happens which restores your faith in them. It's rare, but it happens. Such was the case recently when I met with a young man, about 28 years of age, who asked my advice on some business related issue. I had never met him before, but he had heard of me and hoped I could answer some questions for him. I arranged a face-to-face meeting where we sat down and discussed what was on his mind. I cannot divulge what we talked about but suffice it to say we got to know one and other and I was able to take care of his problem. To me, he appeared to be a sincere young man who had graduated from High School, survived a tour of Afghanistan with the Army, and was now beginning his professional life. In the course of the conversation we talked candidly and discovered our common interests even though there was a significant difference in our ages. He had started back to college and was working towards a degree in I.T. security. He also realized his education was important as he wanted to start a family soon.

A few days following our meeting I received a package in the mail which included a letter from him thanking me for my time and advice. Also included were a couple of cigars. Evidently, I had said something during the meeting about my passion for cigars and he had remembered it. Needless to say, I was impressed by his thoughtfulness, something you typically do not see anymore.

I told this story to a close friend who told me a similar story. Recently, he had driven his bus for a youth outing from his church. It took a few hours out of his day but he was glad to help. A few days later, he received a very nice thank you card in the mail from the youth group director who appreciated his efforts.

In this day and age of e-mails and instant messaging, my friend and I were genuinely surprised and touched by the gestures of appreciation. It is a sign of good grooming which is why I believe youngsters should get in the habit of learning to write thank you notes at an early age. Unfortunately, not too many do. Maybe this is something that should be taught in elementary school which would help promote penmanship to boot.

Writing a letter and saying "thank you" graciously is becoming a lost art. Even with today's sophisticated electronic communications, people seem to have trouble expressing their gratitude, thinking it is more of a waste of time than anything else. Have we become so jaded that we cannot express our appreciation for anything? Saying "thank you" is one of the little things in life that make it worthwhile. It is a courtesy that doesn't go away unnoticed.

Years ago, when I was involved with computer societies, I was often responsible for securing speakers for meetings. I would call them on the telephone to invite them, followed it up with a letter detailing the meeting and checking on their requirements; afterwards, I would send them a note thanking them for speaking at the event. I did this regularly. So much so, I never had a problem securing a speaker, simply because I made sure they knew they were appreciated. I was always mindful of the old idiom, "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."

This is why I was particularly glad to see thank you notes still around. They may be rare these days, but they certainly haven't disappeared and are very gratifying.

Keep the Faith!

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Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim's columns, see:
http://www.phmainstreet.com/timbryce.htm

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Copyright © 2012 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.