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Home > Audio, Podcast, Show > Accepting Thanks and Communicating More Clearly

Accepting Thanks and Communicating More Clearly

December 4th, 2010

Career Opportunities podcast logoThe Thanksgiving holiday here in the US always leads to people giving a tremendous outpouring of thanks for everything from years of service or marriage to something as simple as holding the door at the grocery store. While it is always worthwhile to be reminded of those things for which we are thankful, there is another side to the conversation. We need to think more deeply about the act of accepting thanks and how that simple act can also lead us into more effective communication.

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First, when someone thanks you, what do you do? Do you say “No problem?” It is a very common response, but I don’t think it really communicates a proper reflection of thanks. No problem seems, to me, more of an acknowledgement that something has been said instead of accepting the thanks that were offered. “No problem” is similar to saying “It was nothing.” The fact is, your kindness was more than nothing and accepting thanks shows that you understand the transaction that just occurred. You didn’t have to go out of your way to hold the door, pickup the dropped item or help with something else. You went above and beyond the call of duty and someone appreciated that fact. Take the thanks that were offered and acknowledge that you heard the thanks. Make the communication complete. It leads to a better experience for everyone.

By accepting thanks, you remind yourself that you did do something out of the ordinary. It reminds you that you did, and will continue to do, actions appreciated by others. Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit for the good we do in the world. This good doesn’t have to be huge donations or risking your life for someone else. It only has be to some small gesture that makes someone else’s life a little bit easier — their burden, just a little bit lighter.

So, how do you accept thanks in your life. Looking for an alternative when I realized that I too had fallen into the “no problem” rut, I fell back on a very old method of accepting thanks. My typical response is, “You are very welcome!”. I look the other person in the eye and I say this with great purpose. I want them to understand that I have accepted and acknowledged their thanks. I believe the words and actions also make very clear that I appreciate the thanks and don’t treat it as something to be quickly brushed off.

Some alternatives I use, depending on the situation are “Glad to help” or “glad to be of service” in a more work oriented exchange. “It was really no problem at all” can even be a serviceable alternative if delivered with the action and conviction noted above, although I still prefer my first choice of, “You are very welcome.”

So, in this time of year when thankfulness is more on our minds and lips, be more mindful how how you accept thanks. Each conversation is an opportunity to better communicate with those around us. It is an opportunity to both express thankfulness and accept it in the best way possible. Accept thanks, when offered, in a mindful way. Don’t brush it off. Don’t declare it to be “no problem.” Stop for a moment and say “You are very welcome!” — and really feel the conversation that has passed between you. Even if the words are few, the power resonates throughout our day and our lives.

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