Thursday, July 1, 2010

The two most motivational words in the English language


By Marsha Egan

Want to know the two most motivational words in the English language? Here they are: "thank" and "you". Thank you. THANK YOU.

Whoa. You might think "thank you" is best used for appreciation, not motivation. We say "thank you for the ride." We send thank you notes for gifts. Emily Post tells us to show our appreciation as a matter of etiquette.

But there is another side to these wonderful two words. They motivate people.

Appreciation is a form of recognition. Recognition energizes people to do more of the same. Thank you is a form of private recognition.

So if you want to energize your work group, say "thank you" -- a lot. Recently I asked a retiring volunteer organization president how he managed to have such a successful year and he responded, "I thanked the (heck) outta people!"

How easy are these two words to say? The more you say these words to the people in your business, the more results you will get. It's true. Try it. When you think you have thanked people enough, thank them some more because you can never do it enough!

Remember, thanks don't always have to be said. Send a handwritten note. Send an email. Leave a voice mail message. Something is always better than nothing.

Caution: "Thank you's" are great, but they must be sincere. A false thank you can be detected immediately.

The best expressions of thanks are specific. By making your appreciation very specific, you'll energize the receiver to do more of the same. Which sounds better?

  • "Thank you for your participation in the meeting." or
  • "Thank you for sharing your well researched statistics about the xyz project in the meeting. It helped us understand the impact of the power of xyz."

Here are a few ideas:

  • At the end of your workday, take a few minutes to actively think of the things people did that you appreciate. Write them in a journal, or your planner. Find a way to personally appreciate the person(s).
  • During a meeting, make a note of things you appreciate. Call the person(s) aside at the end of the meeting and tell them.
  • Write a personal note thanking someone for a job well done.
  • Send an email specifically describing the appreciated behavior and copy the person's boss

The best part is that these two words are free. Use them often, and watch the energy in your business grow.

Thank you for reading this article.

Marsha Egan, CPCU, PCC, ICF-Certified Coach is CEO of Reading, PA-based consultancy The Egan Group, Inc. and author of Inbox Detox and the Habit of E-Mail Excellence (Acanthus 2009). Marsha's strategies have helped business leaders across the country Master the People Side of Business Growth, enabling greater profitability through increased productivity. Evaluate your own email habits with her free assessment at