The Magic of “Thank You”!

With a little thought and planning I can start or finish almost every e-mail I write with thank you. These are two of the best words in the english language. In writing they help you focus on your readers. The readers, after all, are what your writing is all about. You want action from each reader and the best way to get action is to make your writing, and speaking, all about your audience. Let’s face it, we’re more likely to do something for someone if that person has made it obvious there’s something in the action for us, as well as for the person requesting the action.

In business writing seminars I find most of the participants don’t use or under use, thank you and its close cousins, please, and you’re welcome. Politeness isn’t just for the fancy restaurants and your great aunt Martha. Politeness works with clients and colleagues. In addition, thank you puts the focus on the client or colleague.

Next time you write an e-mail reflect on how you can thank someone. Try one of these or adapt them to fit your situation.

  • Thank you for your request for information on …
  • Thank you for providing me with the material on …
  • Thank you for pointing out our error. I have taken the following steps to correct …
  • Thank you for considering …

Incidentally, the proper and most effective response to thank you is, “You’re welcome,” not, “No problem”. If I thought it was a problem, I wouldn’t have asked you to do something!

For information on Writing For Business seminars in September and October, please e-mail me at

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Common Sense just isn’t so common

“Common Sense is not Common Practice” is a nifty, little book by Rhonda Scharf. I’m working my way through it to produce a book report for a client. It’s not hard work. Rhonda has captured a wealth of information in 169 pages. The material is drawn from the author’s work in corporate Canada and the USA. My initial response is, while it probably won’t make the best seller list of “business books”, it’s a book leaders should read. It’s about business on the day-to-day level in the office.

Office Etiquette isn’t often a section in the mainstream business books. Neither is Office Harmony or Playing nice the sandbox. They should be. From my perspective too many managers look to the “high level” of office workings and ignore the day-to-day activities. It’s the day-to-day messes that make the business falter and ignoring these messes eventually impact the bottom line in a big way.

Check out Common Sense is Not Common Practice by checking out Rhonda at

Are We Really a Bunch of Slobs?

Recently I was asked to present a seminar on business etiquette to a group of young employees. Their leaders felt that the young crowd didn’t understand proper business rules. That same week I attended a celebration Gala with business leaders. I quickly understood why so many young people appear to lack business etiquette. They don’t have decent role models. While several high profile speakers were making their brief remarks from the platform, several tables of middle aged or older members of the audience continued to talk and laugh loudly.

The young people in the crowd were respectfully listening. It made me ponder as to who really has the etiquette problem. The older members of the crowd either had too much to drink at the champagne reception, and would be slobs anywhere, or their arrogance and inflated egos wouldn’t allow them to stop talking, laughing, and being outrageously loud.

In leadership it’s said that the good leaders walk the talk. During my career I’ve found that to be true. In my corporate training world I find that the strongest corporations have leaders who practice what they preach. I’ve had the opportunity to witness many corporate leaders and their spouses at social events and the true leaders always display business etiquette. How about you? Do you find that we are really just a bunch of slobs?

Garth Roberts