What is your favorite way to express or receive gratitude?

My friend, Mark Sieverkropp, has four great ways to express gratitude, which at first glance might seem obvious, but unfortunately are rarely practiced.

Four Ways to Express Gratitude - Mark Sieverkropp
As you express gratitude to those in your life you will find a joy you get from no other source. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook

Mark is a blogger and student of business, leadership and self-improvement. He has a passion for encouraging, empowering and connecting leaders and entrepreneurs to enhance their impact and expand their influence. He writes an often thought-provoking and always entertaining blog about those topics, so check it out here.

Here is what Mark has to say about expressing gratitude:

Let me start by saying, Matt’s Thank You Revolution has changed my life.

Now, I don’t want Matt’s head to get too big, but let me just say that becoming part of this movement has completely changed how I look at each day. Rather than looking for what I can get, or what I need to accomplish, I find myself looking for who I can thank, and who has helped or served me. That is a powerful paradigm shift!

I had a conversation with a coworker the other day and she said that she thought telling someone in person you appreciate them is most effective. I tend to think that writing a letter is more heartfelt.

The great news is that there are several ways to say “Thank You” and each has a place.

Here are four ways to express gratitude:

  1. Face to Face.  Telling someone Thank You to their face is a great way to express gratitude.  Not only do your words say thank you, your body language will convey your sincerity as well (You may even get a hug, high-five, or back slap from it, depending on the person).
  2. Service.  By serving someone you say thank you.  When I do the dishes, or fold the laundry, or wake up with my infant son in the middle of the night, I’m telling my wife that I love her, and I’m grateful for her.  I’m serving her, and in a way, I’m thanking her.
  3. Gifts.  I’m not talking about big expensive gifts (but if you want to send me a nice watch, message me, I can get you my address!).  Gifts in general show gratitude.  Something as simple as grabbing a soda for a coworker that has helped you out that week goes a long ways.  Giving a gift—no matter how small or large—says “I was thinking about you” and when coupled with a “Thank You” it says “What you did means a great deal to me, thank you.”
  4. Handwritten Notes.  This is, of course, the one that Matt is focusing on in his Revolution.  And I have found it to be an especially effective and heartfelt way to express gratitude.  I think this is because no one does it anymore!! Handwritten notes say “I appreciate you, and I took the time to actually find and use pen and paper to say so.”

There is a time and place for each kind. The bottom line is that you express it.

As you express gratitude to those in your life you will find a joy you get from no other source. You will be happier and have more friends (people like being friends with those who appreciate them).  You will naturally look for ways to serve others and you will experience the joy of feeling others gratitude for you.

How do you express gratitude?

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18 thoughts on “Four Ways to Express Gratitude

  1. Dan Erickson says:

    I rarely gave others gifts, “just because”, when I was younger. In the past seven years a lot of people have helped me out with my daughter, so I started giving people gifts. You know what happened. Not that I expected it, or even wanted them to, but I started getting more help and gifts in return. Funny how that works.

    1. Mark Sieverkropp says:

      Kinda reminds me of that old saying “you reap what you sow”… hmm, where have I heard that before?? thinking…thinking… 😉

      1. Matt McWilliams says:

        Definitely the Harry Potter books.

      2. Mark Sieverkropp says:

        I was thinking Cat in the Hat…but I think you’re right 😉

  2. Lily Kreitinger says:

    Great and simple ways to make other people feel appreciated. Ties in with love languages, and making sure that you use the right kind for the right person is key. I remember one time I was buried in housework and my husband brought flowers to cheer me up after I got turned down for a job. I was expecting him to get in the kitchen and help me out (service) and I got a gift instead… I didn’t accept that very gracefully and I had to apologize later. I love it when he thanks me for going to work every day and helping our family meet our financial goals and build our future together. Great post guys!!!

    1. Mark Sieverkropp says:

      Ahhh the ever important love languages! It is so true! And I think even if you don’t consciously think of them, if you get to know the person, you will just pick up on what the best way to say “thank you” is for that person! Thanks for the insight Lil!

  3. Jon Stolpe says:

    I try to express my appreciation using all four of these methods. The thank you notes often give me a chance to thank someone face to face. When most people get a thank you note from me, they come over to thank me for the note. This gives me another opportunity to verbally thank them again.

    1. Mark Sieverkropp says:

      Definitely true. I think what I like about these notes most, is they truly are a gift. What I mean by that is, there really is no way that the person you thank can pay you back for the gift of your gratitude. They will try, but in my experience, when someone expresses gratitude to me, I never really feel like I can pay them back for their thoughtfulness and kindness–And that makes thank you notes awesome.

      1. Jon Stolpe says:

        My hope is that it starts a cultural revolution of gratitude in my office (and beyond).

      2. Matt McWilliams says:

        I love that goal Jon!

  4. Dan Black says:

    Great ways to show gratitude! I try and be a servant leader to those around me.

  5. I think giving credit is another way of appreciating others. If someone has an idea or suggestion that does or might work – I like to say “Marcie had an idea to create your own questions for the review.” Or whatever the situation…I might have thought the same – but I think it empowers others and lets them know their input is important. Same as when someone approaches me and thanks me for something – but originally it wasn’t my idea – I always give the credit to the person whose idea it was. “Oh, bringing in the juggler to make our point was Mark’s idea – I just arranged it.” I’m not belittling my part – but give credit where due. When others hear or find out about the credit been given – you can almost see them shine! (It promotes team work and sharing of ideas. Others know you will not “steal” their ideas and run with them as your own – riding up on their suggestions.)

    1. Carol Dublin says:

      That’s a great point about giving credit. It can be so frustrating to be around someone who always steals the glory, but truly empowering to be near someone who does give the credit where it’s due. And to add a thank you in there for coming up with the idea is just icing on the cake!

    2. Mark Sieverkropp says:

      I like that Lulu!! giving credit certainly does show appreciation. When my boss tells me I did a great job, it feels good. When I hear my boss telling someone else I did a great job, I feel even better!

  6. Carol Dublin says:

    Great post Mark, and exciting to be part of this revolution Matt. I have definitely found that all these ways work well, but my favorite is the reaction when I hand someone their handwritten thank you. There’s surprise, and hesitation, and then they come back later with a big grin. In a way, being thankful is selfish because I enjoy that feeling of having made someone smile and feel appreciated. Win win really.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      It almost (almost!) takes away from the true purpose of the notes (to build others up) but I admit the anticipation of the reaction is fun. Ends up making MY day!

    2. Mark Sieverkropp says:

      It is an awesome feeling! Thats what I mean about it being a gift. giving a thank you note isnt like giving someone $5. They can’t just give back a thank you note and have it mean exactly the same thing. Because you initiated the gratitude, they will forever feel indebted to you! I don’t say that, meaning that now you can manipulate them. I say it meaning that a true gift is one that can in no way be repaid. Gratitude is that way.

  7. Tom Dixon says:

    Service speaks volumes – and looking for ways to serve others during the day versus being served by them definitely changes perspective.

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