This world seems pretty messed up right now. It seems every time we turn on the news or open social media there is another heartbreaking thing happening. I want to share what we are doing in our little corner of the world to combat the chaos and it can be summed up in one word.
Gratitude is akin to being thankful. Even though the dictionary labels it as a noun, gratitude is best when it has action. Taking gratitude from a noun to a verb takes time and intentionality. And when you start practicing gratitude, not only do YOU start feeling better, but it also invites others to feel better also.
Here are a handful of ways to practice gratitude, from easy to hard and for any budget.
1. Practice Makes Perfect
The best way to start practicing gratitude is to keep things simple. These will take time but not a lot of money. Practicing gratitude snowballs over time and is something to continually practice and invest in (like your SEO and content strategy). Here are a few tips and ways to get started.
Tip One: This is About Them, Not You
If you are wanting to start strategically showing gratitude to your customers, giving gifts must be tailored to them. You want them to feel valued and appreciated, not like check off the To-Do list. Put thought into what you do for them. Know their values. Stay away from giving at ‘general’ times like holidays. Recognize the people who helped you – which is often the receptionist or secretary who let you into the door instead of the CEO. Sever any strings you may want to attach – showing gratitude isn’t about getting more for you, it’s about recognizing the people who’ve helped you succeed. Whatever you send, make sure you’re sending it for the right reason.
Tip Two: Long Term Strategy
Showing gratitude isn’t a one and done act. It should be consistent acts over several months for those you want to show appreciation for. This makes it very important for all of the gifts you send to make sense as a whole. Choose a theme for the gifts you’ll send. The theme could be simple like ‘locally made’ or ‘from the heart.’ Or you can go involved to really dig in and find a value the person holds and have everything from the stationary to wrapping to gifts revolve around that value.
Where to Start
Never underestimate the value of taking the time to pick up the phone and call to tell someone how you are thankful for them. While a text is nice, a call is better.
Going a step further, sending a handwritten note is a lost art. Putting into writing how someone has helped you can bring long-lasting encouragement to them. Using a handcrafted card, or one with local art or photography, adds a nice touch to show the care you put into letting them know how much their help meant to you.
2. One Step Deeper
If you want to up the ante on your gratitude practice, it takes more skin in the game. It will always take time and practice, but now you’re adding some dough to the mix. Perhaps literally.
Here in the North, food is almost a love language. Having friends over? Going to a game? Staying home to binge-watch your favorite show? Food is part of every gathering!
That said, food isn’t always the right choice to send. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you settle on sending a delectable edible treat.
- Allergies. Do you know of any food allergies? Stay away from common ones, like peanuts or coconut.
- Preferences. Does the receiver like to try new things? Do they have any dislikes? (ie: don’t send coffee to a coffee-hater.)
- Shelf Life. Make sure you know shipping time frames and how long the food will last. Will extreme heat or cold ruin it? Is the container fragile?
Be very wise about using food to show grati
tude. Most of the time food should be avoided.
Plants and Flowers
Being in the Northern part of Minnesota means we love growing things. We also like giving what we grow as gifts. Fresh veggies and flowers as a token of gratitude are a great way to brighten someone’s day – if they are local to you.
Do you like creating things with your hands? If you’re a business owner, are any of your employees handy with crafting? No, I’m not talking about the beautiful macaroni necklace your kiddo made in kindergarten. I’m talking about, “Wow! You could sell these!” kinds of creativity. Painting a canvas, buying or making prints of local photography, or other higher-skilled crafts like making epoxy coasters.
Never underestimate the value of making a donation in someone’s name. Do some research to find out what is near and dear to who you want to honor. This is a simple way to show them gratitude. For instance, if you know Marcus served in the military, perhaps donating to Wounded Warrior Project or Gary Sinise Foundation may be very meaningful to him. On the other hand, Carly may have a soft spot in her heart for kids and teen moms so St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital or an organization like Grace’s Table could be where to send a donation in her name.
Personalize What You Send
Remember, gratitude is about the other person! Personalize the gifts to what they’d like, sans the monogram. Having some fun, custom shipping tape or special stickers can give the outside of the box an extra flair to help them remember your gift.
3. Go Pinterest Perfect
Are you ready to go all-in on showing gratitude with a huge wow factor? Here are two ways to do that.
Artisan gifts could include artwork, pottery, blown glass figurines, etc., created by local artists. Being able to share a backstory of the created item can add a touch of charm to the gift. It also takes greater intentionality to find just the right gift – and your thoughtfulness will be seen. If you regularly have awards made, working with a local artist can also give the wards a special feel. For the RT3 Technology award in 2019, we commissioned a local glass-blower to make this amazing award for the winner.
If you are looking to really WOW someone who has helped your company succeed, don’t be afraid of spending extra money on a gift for them. Just make sure it is something which will impress and be used by the whole family. Stay away from that nice watch and go for something they’ll use every day. Get the best available product instead of the cheapest option. Go out of your way to find a gift with meaning.
Who To Spoil with Gratitude
It may feel obvious to shower the one who signed that big deal or hired you for your new job, but this is the time to think outside the box. Who granted you access to the hiring manager? Who used their influence to share your story? Are you out of touch with anyone, or have bridges to mend? Who in your internal network, including current customers and brand partners, have been shouting your fame far and wide? These people behind the scenes are those whom you should recognize.
Then, go one step further and include the spouses and family of those who are spoiling. You don’t necessarily have to gift the person who helped you – sending a gift for the husband or wife and kids of the assistant who let you in the door can be an extra special touch to show how you value their help.
When to Show Gratitude
While it seems natural to share on a birthday or holiday (ABC’s = Anniversary, Birthday, Christmas), these are the very times to avoid. Everyone else is sending cards, calendars, or other mass-produced things. You want to stand out from the crowd. Help them celebrate a huge success. Encourage them during a difficult time.
Keep a pulse on what’s happening not only in their work-life but their personal lives (without being creepy, please!). You can put your active listening skills to work in meetings to catch clues or involve someone in their inner circle.
Expressing gratitude takes on a new dimension when we intentionally practice it out loud instead of in our heads. A company doesn’t have to do all of these things when they want to be appreciative of benefits received from others; it has to be authentic to the values and culture of the company and those to whom they’re grateful. If you have any questions about how to show gratitude as a company or want help with creating a gratitude strategy, connect with us to see how we can collaborate and wow your customers.