Don’t settle for giving a “thank you” when you can give a POWER THANK YOU?
If you want to make the people who are special to you, feel special, try a Power Thank You. It has 3 parts:
Part 1: Thank them for something specific that they did for you (it can also be something they refrained from doing that would have hurt you).
Part 2: Acknowledge to them the effort it took for them to do it (by saying something like: “I know you didn’t have to do —-” or “I know you went out of your way to do —-”).
Part 3: Tell them the difference it personally made to you.
I still get choked up when I think of the power thank you a CEO client gave me a couple years ago.
He told me: “1. I think you might have saved my life; 2. I can be very tough and hard headed but you took me on. You told me very firmly and in no uncertain terms about the incredible pain my 15 year old, underachieving son was in by having a high IQ and not being able to use it because he couldn’t focus. I just kept treating him like he was lazy; 3. And what did it mean to me? I remember when I asked him (as you suggested), how bad it got for him (that he couldn’t concentrate), and he broke and started crying and let me in instead of blowing me off like he usually did. And then I’ll never forget when I asked him, why he hadn’t told me it was so bad and he looked right back at and through me and said (correctly), ‘Dad, you didn’t want to know!’
I told my son I was sorry for not knowing and for not caring enough to find out. He looked back at me at said, ‘I’m sorry for all the self-destructive things I did, when I didn’t give a damn because you didn’t either.’ That’s when I knew I had to go from hurting my boy to helping (the guy was choked up as he said this) him.”*
* This CEO started keeping his son company every night as the boy struggled through his homework, because as his dad said to him: “I can’t allow you to be alone feeling so awful.” This change in attitude turned everything around at home. That CEO then realized how he was doing the same thing at his company to his board and management team and turned those situations around as well. This anecdote is alluded to in “Chapter 1: Who’s Holding You Hostage?” in “Just Listen” Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.