The Fine Art Of Appreciation

We live in a world of constant carping, unending complaining, where “nary is heard a discouraging word” is long dead. Instead, the order of the day is grouse, groan, gripe. If you listen to the person on the street, nothing is ever right; everything is always wrong.

Whether this is true or not (and it isn’t), the plain truth is: it’s time to make a concerted effort to thank the folks who do things right. THEY are an endangered species, and they need all the help they can get.

1) Resolve to appreciate

Now, too many people go out in search of what’s wrong. Let’s flip that and resolve to seek what’s right. This doesn’t and shouldn’t mean that we don’t see and deal with the bad. However, it does mean that we take a more balanced approach: to see and root out what’s wrong… but equally to see and laud what’s good.

2) Compliment good service… at once

When was the last time that someone, a fellow human being, did something nice for you… and you let the moment pass without uttering a few good words? The truth is, it happens all the time. Someone made an extra effort for you… went that extra mile… and you said NOTHING! In the famous line, that makes YOU part of the problem!

Be it resolved: whenever anyone does anything nice for you, make it a point to compliment the good deed doer. At once.

3) Send a note.

Good words are nice. But in our time-pressed world, if you really want to compliment good service and make an impresssion, send a note.

Do it the old-fashioned way, the way your mother taught you. Use your personal stationery (you do have some, don’t you) and write a personal note. Then stick a stamp on it and mail. Yours will be the first such note the recipient has received in months… or even years… and will be valued accordingly.

Note: e-mailing a message is nice, but because e-mail is so prevalent (and because most e-mails that people send are poorly spelled and otherwise replete with error), e-mails have less of the impact you desire. And text messages have even less.

4) Notify a supervisor.

Were you the recipient of something very nice indeed? Then don’t just compliment the good deed do-er; notify her employer, too.

People in authority constantly complain that it’s difficult to find good workers. For such people your good words are like gold, helping them sort out the better personnel from the rest. Since yours may be the only such message received, it will have a significant impact.

Take a moment, therefore, to call the company where the good deed do-er works. Get the name and address of the company owner, ceo, president, or supervisor. Ask for their e-mail address, too.

Then either mail or e-mail a brief but focused note. Make sure you include the full name of the employee who helped you. Make your message short, clear, upbeat. Don’t be surprised if you get a nice response to you note; such messages are always most welcome. (You may even get a little token of appreciation yourself!)

5) When the deed is REALLY meritorious

There are times in life when a note, no matter how flattering, is not enough. I think, for instance, of when I took ill in a restaurant one festive evening… and how helpful the staff was. For them something more was required… and a lavish bouquet with accompanying note… was immediately dispatched. For such events, I have an account with a local florist. You’ll find that useful, too.

6) Tell a friend

ALL businesses appreciate the value of word-of- mouth advertising. Sadly, ten times as many people tell friends about the things that go wrong than the ones which go right. Make sure you help lower these odds by passing on the good things, not just the bad.

Make a concerted effort, the next time you receive good service, to tell a friend. And make sure the person so informed mentions this recommendation when they ask for the service themselves. The recipients of the good word will be glad to know they’re being favorably discussed.

7) Answer customer surveys

Businesses need to know how they’re doing. Thus when you’ve been the recipient of something good, don’t withhold this crucial information; make sure to complete survey questionnaires so the company knows.

Companies know you’re busy. Thus, they usually make such surveys short and sweet. 5-10 minutes is all that’s required on your part. There is usually a “comments” section; if so, be SURE to mention the name of the person who was good to you. This useful information will certainly be noted.

Last Words

By following these steps, you will assuredly lighten steps, generate smiles, and encourage the good to continue their winning ways. After all, despite all the undoubted bad in the world, we are all, yes every one of us, the recipient of good. Our job is to foster and encourage it. Now you know how!