The most important communications tip ever

I'm certain that today's blog post (or a flavor of this post) has been addressed a billion times already, but I'm going to write about it again because it's so important. It's critically important. In fact, on a Top Ten list of communications "best practices," this edges out "stop saying 'um'" for the #1 slot. If you can master this, you will find more success in business and in life than you could possibly fathom in your wildest dreams. You will gain influence, you will be liked, you will engender trust.

So what is this magical practice of which I speak? It's a six-word phrase that you must commit to memory and commit to using at least once per day for the rest of your life. The phrase: "Thank you. I really appreciated that."

I was reminded of this just a few days ago when I received an email from a client after a particularly trying week. For months, we had been preparing for a launch, and, as is often the case in PR, all of our efforts culminated in a few insane days of work. Everyone was thrilled with the outcomes. Our team internally was over the moon, and we knew we had met our client's high expectations. But then, I received a wonderful email from the client that made my week. I'll spare you the details. This was the phrase that mattered: "Before I shut down for the day, I want to say thank you for your outstanding support." Wow. Let's be honest ... how often do you hear that from a client?

The reality is, there is an entire science behind gratitude. It's powerful stuff. The way it makes other people feel about themselves; the way it makes other people feel about you; and the way it makes you feel about yourself. Deborah Norville wrote this book about it, and somebody spoke about it at TED (so it's gotta be important). Then of course, there is this classic line about saying thanks from the Microsoft Small Business Center, which refers to it as "leveraging an underutilized edge in the marketplace." Good stuff Microsoft!

In my prior PR jobs, I never got enough thank yous. I was starving for them. After a while, you feel like clients look at you as a commodity and not a person. At Louder Than Words [*6/25/12* this agency has closed, I am now Communicate GOOD], we've been blessed (that's right, I'm not a religious person but I just said blessed) to have clients that say thank you. It's invigorating. It makes the work that much more fulfilling and it inspires us to work even harder on our clients' behalves.

Thank you for reading my blog post. I really appreciate it.