Showing appreciation is automatic for some individuals, but many people forget to show appreciation on a daily basis. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary describes appreciation as “a favorable critical estimate b: sensitive awareness especially: recognition of aesthetic values; c: an expression of admiration, approval, or gratitude.” We all know when a home “appreciates” it grows in value; likewise, when we show appreciation to others, we assign value to them.
Why do so many people forget (or omit) to say thank you or show other forms of appreciation? Well, for each person the answer is different. For some people, they think that it is old fashioned or shows a sign of weakness. Some people are so busy on the move, they sincerely forget. Others feel that they don’t have to say anything because you should already know that they are grateful for your help. However, is this really enough? No. Even if a man or woman loves their spouse, they still want to hear it now and again. It is the same with showing appreciation in social networking settings. If you don’t say thank you or show another form of appreciation, people will think that you are not grateful for what they did.
Let’s look at some ways how we can show appreciation when social or professional networking (this information can also be applied in other daily activities).
When someone responds to your online discussion, question, or provides feedback
You can reply to them publicly or privately and thank them for providing feedback. If appropriate, tell them why their information was beneficial to you. If you are sincere, the person will really appreciate you taking the time to thank them. In many cases, you are not able to respond to each and every person when numerous people chime in; in those situations, one thank you message to the group will suffice.
When someone invites you to lunch or coffee for a networking meeting
Scheduling a personal face to face meeting is a kind act, and the person is taking out time from their busy schedule and life to spend time with you. You want to make sure that they don’t feel like they wasted their time meeting with you. Be a good listener and provide thoughtful responses. If they did not say that they were paying, offer to treat them as a thank you for meeting with you. If they refuse to allow you to pay, don’t insist, let them take the lead. You want to end the meeting by asking how you can help them. To further show appreciation, send a card in the mail (if you have the address) or send an E-card (electronic card online). Most people love it when you send them cards.
When a public speaker presents to your group or association
Public speakers are motivated when they know that people appreciated their information and their time. After the speaker presents, clap your hands firmly for a few moments. The longer you clap indicates how much you liked it. Clapping is like music to a speaker’s ears. Want to learn how to clap properly (how long etc.)? Join your local Toastmasters where they actually teach you the proper way to clap (might sound silly but you can learn better clapping techniques).
If you cannot afford to compensate the speaker (monetarily), then have a gift ready for them at the end of their presentation. While simply saying thanks is nice, giving a gift will show you really put extra thought into it. It does not have to be expensive either. Actually, if you can afford an expensive gift, then you could have paid them instead.
When someone refers you to hiring manager or recruiter
If you are networking for a job, most likely people will refer you to a recruiter or hiring manager. This is a great thing because most jobs are hidden (unadvertised) and networking is the best way to discover them. You want to show appreciation by following up with the lead, arriving on time for the interview (if one is granted), and conducting yourself in a professional manner. How you conduct yourself will be a reflection on the person who recommended you.
What other ways can you thank someone for a job referral? Saying thanks and sending a card are obvious answers. However, what else can you do? You can reciprocate by giving them a recommendation or referral when they need one.
Showing gratitude is not only a common courtesy, it is an important part of networking if you want people to continue helping you. Let people know that you are grateful and your relationship will continue to grow!