If I handed you a basketball and asked you to shoot 10 free throws, how many do you think you would hit? Let’s assume that you haven’t played the game before, maybe shot around in gym class, but nothing organized. You’d probably hit 2 maybe 3 if you were in a nice gym on a good day. What if you practiced for one day, every week, for 3 months? I bet that after some practice you would sink 5 or 6 every time. Effectively showing appreciation is no different – we have to practice, practice, practice. If we do it more often, then we can do it more effectively.
How many of us are impressed with a friend, family member, or co-worker, and then say nothing? I would guess a lot of us. William Arthur Ward said it best, “Feeling gratitude, and not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” Showing genuine appreciation consistently to the people, things, and organizations around us is just plain hard. You feel it, and you want to say something, but either you don’t find the time or don’t know how to communicate it.
I want to share one way we practice appreciation within our bike tour company. We call it the 6 in 1 Challenge, showing appreciation through 6 different forms of communication in one day. Certain ones are easier than others; ways that are easy for me might be difficult for you (and vice versa).
TEXT – EMAIL – SOCIAL MEDIA – HAND WRITTEN NOTE – FACE TO FACE – SERVICE
Any sized business can do this, any organization can implement it, or you can do it at home with friends or family. You’ll feel great, those you praise will surely feel awesome, and most importantly your mindset will morph into an appreciation giving machine! Here are the 6 mediums to show appreciation…
I once saw a friend give a great presentation at a public hearing here on Nantucket. She was clear, confident, concise, and smiled the entire time. Being so impressed, I texted her so she knew how I felt. Right as I about to hit send, I realized that I should add 3 more people to the group text so they could also chime in. And of course they did, I knew everyone saw what she did, and wanted to give them a chance to show their appreciation of a job well done. Not surprised but very impressed MM!
Using this form of communication opens up a wide range of possibilities. Texting might not be appropriate in certain cases, and some of the other ways might be applicable due to geographic hurdles. You could email someone you just met that went above and beyond to help you or a friend. Emailing allows you to show your appreciation in a not so intimate way that may be best in a particular situation.
After each bike tour, we send an email to our clients thanking them for pedaling around the island with us. But we don’t copy and paste a boiler plate message, or rely on our online booking service to send an automatic email 24 hours after the tour date. A personal email allows us to add in what we call “connectors”, referring to something positive or funny that happened on the tour or commenting on a personal tidbit that our client shared with us. This could be wishing their son well as he goes off to college or thanking them for the advice they gave us on how to make Angel Food cake (that actually happened). Implementing this simple, but effective, CRM system (Customer Relationship Management) has brought us much success with word of mouth and on TripAdvisor. More importantly it helps grow our Emotional Intelligence (EQ) as it pushes us to focus on our clients and look for all the things we can appreciate about them…and hopefully that practice carries over after the tour into every day life.
Saying something nice to someone in the social world can carry a lot of weight. A friend of mine totally took me off guard this year when he posted a nice shout out on Facebook. I never knew he felt that way. This came from a guy that I highly admire, for his courage in chasing his dream to become a comedian, and his openness to be vulnerable not just on stage but in everyday life. He’s an amazing person that shows us all that anything is possible if you work hard enough for it. Thank you Bglow!
Hand Written Note
Ahhh, the lost art of note writing! We can all surmise how nice it is to receive a hand written note or letter, but when is the last time you did it? At the bike tours, we make it one of our go tos. After a great tour, our guides might drop off a nice note to the front desk of the hotel where their customers are staying, saying how much fun they had and wishing them safe travels. We have a lot of businesses that help us do our jobs well, so we like to send or drop off in person a note thanking them (even if its their job, it’s still nice to show appreciation when they do it so well!). So stop what you are doing right now, and order 100 or perhaps 500 thank you notes with envelopes. If you customize your note cards, you’ll want to use them more. I have note cards made up for both businesses logo and mantra written on them, kinda cheesy but it helps us want to write more. Like getting a really nice pen, makes you WANT to write a letter.
Face to Face
This one can be a real challenge, but extremely effective because the receiver can see your expression and body language. This doesn’t have to be a “you mean so much to me, I’m going to pour my heart out to you” kinda chat. A simple What and Why will do the job: here’s what you did and here’s why I appreciate it so much.
At the Handlebar, we go on different walks outside of the shop so we can have one on one time. There are many different walking routes, it depends on the subject matter which route we take – the Bank Route, the Block Walk, or the Extended Block Walk. Sometimes I walk in when its slow and say, “KD, we’re going on a block walk. We’ll be back in 5 minutes”. Half the time I just want to know what’s going on in their life, other times I have something specific to address. But either way, or with any route, I always show appreciation in some way. Humans are amazing, and you can find something amazing in every person you walk by, work with, or meet.
The Block Walk
Service or Gift
Big impact with this one! It’s cheating a bit because you can combine it with a hand written note or a face to face. Then, it’s a double whammie. Bringing the staff of the Lobster Trap or Faherty ice coffees and writing them a little note to say that they rock goes a long way. We don’t want anything in return, only to genuinely show how much they are appreciated. Brining in doughnuts to your office is great, but make sure you tell everyone WHY you appreciate them and/or the work they are doing.
Your 6-IN-1 Challenge
Do you think you could pull this off? Of course you can, but do you want to? (Don’t be scared, you got this) Challenge yourself, your crew, or a friend to hit all 6 in one day. Some of these methods may not come naturally to you, so I suggest picking out 1 or 2 that are the easiest and work your way up. If you get to one that makes you feel uncomfortable, perfect! That’s the one you need to try hard to push through, you’ll feel amazing afterwards (and so will the other person).
Give me some feedback on what was the hardest/easiest for you. Maybe you adapted it for your situation and killed it! Let me know how it went, whether you hit 2 free throws or went 10 for 10, you made someone feel appreciated.
BINI – Be interested, not interesting