I had just helped associates I know connect for working together on a project. The person who was seeking the contractor, reached out to thank me for the connection. The person on the receiving end of the new opportunity, I never heard from…as in, not at all to know they followed up with the person or appreciated the connection. And it got me thinking, are we now living in a time where follow-ups and thank you notes are relics from a not so distant past?
I can’t believe I’m starting this next sentence with these words but…
Back in my day…
…and even to this day, if someone wants to connect me to anyone for a way that will benefit me in the long run (whether it be a speaking opportunity, a new client, a fun organization or project to get involved in), my immediate response is always “thank you.” Having been in business for over 9 years, and that we are largely a referral-based company, I don’t take for granted that our success in part is due to a community of people from various walks of life who at one point in time thought about us and made a connection. By the same token, we are considered a trusted source, and when we refer others, our words carry weight.
Caught off guard by the lack of response I received, I reached out to a couple of my colleagues to ask if the landscape was changing. From a thank you note sent after an interview, to a quick email acknowledging a good deed, or a small gift for a client referral, showing gratitude for opportunities is both how to leave a lasting impression, and to signal the universe that you want more.
The Etiquette of Saying Thank You
We thought there might be a teaching/mentor opportunity to talk a little bit more about why thank you’s are important, and some easy ways to make them happen.
Perfect for a quick response that acknowledges the kind act, and ensures the person who did it is seen. If you receive an email that connects you directly with someone that’s leading to a potential opportunity, here are two easy ways to say thank you:
Do a reply to the person you’re connecting with, but BCC the person who connected you, with a response along the lines of “Hello [New Connection], It’s great to connect with you. And [Original Connector], thank you for the introduction. I’m moving you to BCC so we don’t clog your inbox….”
Do a separate reply email that says “Hi [Original Connector], Just wanted to let you know I reached out to [New Connection] and we’re setting up a call for later this week. Thank you for thinking of me.
THE THANK YOU NOTE:
Whaaat? People still write these? YES. And I’m talking about the good ol’ fashion pen to card stock to stamp to mailbox. We live in a time when information is extremely accessible, making it super easy to find someone’s business address and send them a note. Print is not dead, and a note in the mail cuts through the clutter of our mailboxes and is memorable.
You can work with a printer like Moo.com to have a small batch of branded cards that you use from time to time. You can also grab some nice notecards from stores like PaperSource to find designs that match your personality. And there are apps out there now like TouchNote that totally take out the “going to the post office” part of the equation.
Thank you notes can be used for just about anything, but they are mostly used after job interviews or a strategic connection has been made that leads to an opportunity for you.
THE THANK YOU GIFT:
The gift you get can range in size and effort (think gift-card to a local coffee shop, or well-made gifts from socially conscious companies like Big Heart Tea Co, or sending flowers from a company like UrbanStems, or sourcing specific ideas from Token.ai). We do this when a referral leads to opportunity (a signed contract, a speaking opportunity, a new client/project, etc). It’s our way of paying it back. We love doing this because it signals to the receiver that we appreciate that they took the time to think of us and make a connection. We see them, we acknowledge that effort, we are full of gratitude.
WE ARE NOT MOVING SO FAST THAT WE CAN’T SHOW GRATITUDE
There is a famous quote by the poet Maya Angelou that reads “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Yes, we live in a fast-paced world and that’s not changing anytime soon, and most of what we do in our day to day lives will be forgotten over time, but who we are and how we operate is still largely experiential. It’s one of our company mottos that every detail matters in the work that we do and the people we connect with. And that includes even the little ones, like saying thank you.