The Art of Simple Appreciation

I am a professional speaker; I travel a lot to conferences and enjoy speaking at events. One of the things that makes it enjoyable is being appreciated by the organizers of the events. Quite often, the speakers are forgotten. The organizers are focused on the attendees and the sponsors, after all that is where the money is coming from. But without the content, there would be no event.

Organizers of some conferences I have attended go out of their way to make you feel special. Not because you are a diva or act special, but simply because they want you to know that they appreciate you showing up and doing your best for their event.

I have received business gifts, food, and other signs of appreciation. All of these are great and I definitely love getting them, but the most effective, most treasured of all my speaker appreciation gifts is a hand written thank you note.

Sure the silver cufflinks I received are awesome, and I wear them regularly; the other gifts are great, too, I am certainly not complaining. But a hand written note to show the appreciation of the organizers is something that isn’t bought. It takes time and shows effort.

For small businesses, showing appreciation to customers, to valued vendors and members of staff can be tricky. Too big a gift and you can look showy; too small a gift and you can look lame. How do you show your appreciation without going over the top or falling short?

That is where the hand written note comes in. Identify why you are showing your appreciation, highlight what it is about the relationship that you value, make the message personal, and really show how much you value the recipient.

Much more than free food or a t-shirt, a hand written note to a valued customer or a reliable vendor or staff member will be treasured long after it is given. Of course, this doesn’t mean you can’t give other things, but a hand written note will go a long way in strengthening your relationships with your business partners.

On the wall in my office is a pinboard, and that is where I pin the notes I receive. Every day, I get to look at those notes and realize that I am appreciated for what I do — that is a heck of a good feeling.

What simple signs of appreciation do you use?

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Simon Salt
Simon is CEO of IncSlingers, and is an author, blogger, writer and entrepreneur. His book on Social Location Marketing was published by QUE, a division of Pearson publications in February 2011. Simon has been published online by Mashable, Read Write Web and others.


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  1. Hi Simon,

    I LOVE hand written thank you notes. I love sending them and especially love receiving them. With all the hustle and bustle of the internet and email, we tend to forget what is really awesome in life. When a hand written thank you note comes my way, I know that I truly touched someone’s life.

    Great stuff!

  2. I simply love the written word, and given the choice between a personal phone call and a mail, I’d prefere the mail 8 out of 10 times. If not more!

    But to answer your question Simon, I wouldn’t show my tru appreciation – to a good and loyal business clients for examble – i writing. In my oppinion it’s a little too easy and a bit (I think the English word for it is…) cheesy

    Using handwriting can however be a fine way to add a special personal touch. At my advertising agency we sometimes suggest the usage of handwritten in direct mails when dealing with a very small and narrow target group of great value to our client. Our split test documents that hand writing most certainly can be a very effective marketing tool.

    Let me revert to your question Simon:
    Showing my – and my company’s – appreciation face to face or by a personal phone call works best for me. It’s important that the phone call is short to-the-point and is not about other (business) stuff. That’s just my experience.

    How do you show appriciation towards great employees. The ones that allways are willing to go the extra mile. If not by ordinary ways of money/raises and career moves, then what ?

    Kind regards
    Søren Baron Rom
    BARON & COMPANY reklamebureau
    Copenhagen, Denmark

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