A simple exchange

The next time someone offers you advice say “thank you” instead of “I know.”

“I know” stops the conversation. It tells the person who offered to help, “You don’t need to help me, I know this already.” I’m sure you didn’t mean your response unkindly or that you weren’t grateful for the proffered help. “I know” is a natural reaction—we’ve been saying it to our parents and teachers since we learned to talk! “Don’t forget your coat, it’s cold outside.” “Yes, Mom, I know.”

“Thank you” gets me at least a smile and often, another helpful comment. It also makes the other person feel appreciated instead of rebuffed. If you’re looking for good ideas, “thank you” is nearly as powerful as asking good questions.

When I can remember to do it—and I don’t every time, just this morning at work I responded “I know” when I should have said “thank you”—I swap the two phrases.

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2 Responses to “A simple exchange”

  1. Renee says:

    Saying thank you can do even more among colleagues. It also seems to be contagious, and it’s like the sniffle that becomes a cold — starting out small with a simple polite and appreciative exchange blossoms into some real communication. Well, maybe the sniffle and cold is not the best example because colds tend to make folks grumpy, while real communication at work leads to an easier, more productive environment with happy people! When I thank people for information, ideas or assistance, I do not feel uncomfortable in asking them something in the future. The door is left open, and generally they feel a bond of mutual respect and will ask me for my opinion as well. This does not stop amazing me, because it really is simple, and no different in an office relationship than in any other — if you are genuine, appreciative and helpful when writing to or talking with others, you and your colleagues are at ease with one another, and you work well together. I am not really very patient, and since just simply “being nice” and respectful of others is so helpful in communicating, and is such a natural idea, that sometimes I want the contagious nature of simple things like saying thank you to blossom even faster — an epidemic might satisfy me :)

  2. admin says:

    Renee, very simply — thank you! This is my idea of an epidemic. Warm wishes, Denice

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