The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is the time when most of us like to demonstrate our gratitude and appreciation for family and friends. And, maybe even for the mailman and the store clerk. Wouldn’t it be nice to experience that kind of give and receive gratitude and appreciation every day of the year?
It’s really not hard to do, and the payoff in building strong relationships is enormous. Everyone likes to be appreciated. And, showing appreciation can be a great communication power tool!
It all begins by building the habit of gratitude into our daily lives. We do lots of things every day on automatic pilot, simply out of habit. Things like taking a shower, making coffee, or going to work. We don’t usually have to put these items on our “to do” list, we just do them.
Here are some great tips for building your appreciation muscle and making appreciation a part of your day, every day!
Set a Goal
Make a goal of appreciating 5-10 people every day. Don’t go to bed without achieving your daily quota. Appreciate your spouse and children, write letters to your mom, e-mail your friends, or thank the grocery clerk who served you with a smile. It takes 30-60 days for something to become routine. So, if you do this every single day for a month, it should easily become part of your daily life.
Try Different Types of Appreciation
The next tip focuses on the how of appreciation. People generally have a preferred way of learning and receiving information: auditory, visual and kinesthetic. These are the three ways that our brains take in information, and everyone has a dominant type they prefer. I like to refer to the three ways as V-A-K. If you know a person’s preferred style, you will get the most impact by tailoring the type of appreciation you give to suit the person. Here are some examples for each type:
- The V: Visual people like to see appreciation. Letters, cards, flowers, certificates, and pictures are perfect for these individuals.
- The A: Auditory people like to hear appreciation. For these folks, expressing thanks verbally, especially using a caring and compassionate tone in our voice, is the best way to let them know how much we appreciate them. And, if you sing, then sing to them! They will love it.
- The K: Kinesthetic people like to feel appreciation. They like to do things that make them feel good, like getting a massage, a hug, or spending some quality time with them.
Experiment with the different forms of appreciation, and observe how much more deeply your appreciation is received when you find the right way to deliver it for each individual.
When in doubt, use all three types of communication. It’s the trifecta of appreciation: Tell them, show them and give them a pat on the back! For example, put your arm around your kids when you tell them how much you appreciate them and then follow up later with a card.
So, here’s my challenge to you: Get some practice in during the holidays, when everyone’s doing it. And, then, make a goal to use appreciation as your daily communication power tool! The results will be transforming!
Betty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home.
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