Thank you.
Why are those words so difficult?
I guess I’m “old school” because I still think it’s appropriate to send a card or a small gift in gratitude for business. I especially like to express thanks when I’m treated extraordinarily well by a business. I don’t mean in terms of money. I’m talking about real courtesies that make a big difference in my day. I notice that businesses that treat me well, treat their people well. It does start there.
This entry is about something else. It’s about being gracious. Nothing kills the intent of a thank you than hearing, “You didn’t have to do that.” I know that! A business that can pay me $20,000 for a big project can certainly afford a nice bag of coffee beans. Still, I like to show my appreciation and really only need to hear, “thank you” in return.
Not being able accept something from someone unless you pay for it is YOUR problem. Yes, it’s a problem. The top CEOs I’ve worked with can accept small tokens with grace by just saying, “Thank you. That was very thoughtful.”  It’s an art to be able to accept. Did you know that? It’s true. And it’s important.
I’m not talking about bribes or over-the-top “gifts” that are intended to induce you to do something. I’ll write about that next time. No, I’m referring to simple gestures of sincere thanks.
I usually give coffee. It’s “business appropriate”. Recipients have said things like, “I don’t drink coffee but someone here will use it.” Wow, nice. Thanks. Glad I threw away $50 to show you my appreciation. I do understand that remark has nothing to do with not being a coffee drinker. It’s about being unable to accept. To that I say: you need to get over yourself. It’s very important to be able to accept from people. If you can’t accept a card or small token, they probably won’t offer their ideas and innovative thoughts about ways of improving business. I’m not kidding, this is serious.
So next time someone gives you something, just say, “thank you”. You’ll do as much for the giver as they were trying to do for you.
Chris Reich, Author of TeachU’s Business Talk Blog