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Appreciation Isn’t Just For the Holidays

Betty Lochner blog post

Holiday Appreciation. It’s something we do regularly this time of year.

The period from Thanksgiving through New Year’s is the time of year when most of us demonstrate extra appreciation and gratitude for family and friends.  And, maybe even for the mailman and the store clerk.  

Wouldn’t it be nice to experience that kind of holiday appreciation every day of the year?

It’s really not hard to do, and the payoff in building strong relationships is enormous. Studies show that we are an under appreciated culture.

50% of workers believe being thanked by managers not only improved their relationship but also built trust (Cicero group).

75% of workers said they haven’t received praise or recoginition in the last 7 days or more (Gallup).

Expressing appreciation and gratitude to a partner leads to an improved and more positive relationship (American Pschological Assoc).

Showing Regular Appreciation is a Powerful Communication Tool

Strengthening our communication skills begins by making the habit of our holiday appreciation a part of our daily lives all year round. 

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.

How to Make Holiday Appreciation Last All Year

It takes 30-60 days for something to become routine. Here are two great tips for building your appreciation muscle and making appreciation a part of your day, every day.

1. Set a Daily Goal

Make a goal of appreciating 5-10 people every day:

  • Put it on your daily “to do” list.
  • 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.  They all count.

If you do this every single day for at least a month, it will start to become part of your daily life and help you develop the skill of positive communication. You’ll see your daily attitude and relationships change to be more positive and focused on what’s going well in your day.

2. Try Different Types of Appreciation

This tip focuses on the how of appreciation. People generally have a preferred way of learning and receiving information:  visual, auditory, 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. Having them see you doing a chore or service also works.
  • 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 close by.

Experiment with the different types of appreciation, and observe how much more deeply your appreciation is received when you find the preferred 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 simple thank you card. 

For more ideas, check out my post 10 Ways to Show Appreciation

Take the Appreciation Challenge

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. I guarantee you that the results will be transforming at work and at home.

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Betty Lochner is a human resources consultant, business coach, and expert in workplace communications. She is the author of two books on communication, and a newly published journal, Intentional Gratitude. Click here to sign up to receive a free sample: 7 Days of Gratitude.

You can schedule a free consultation coaching session with Betty to help you with any communication, HR, or career issues you have

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