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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It’s All In Your Language

As a leader or colleague, you get things done through other people. How you get things done is directly related to how you talk with other people. As a coach of mine, Betty Cooper, says, “It’s not what you say, it’s the way that you say it.”

I choose my words carefully when I’m in conversations … most of the time. Amazingly it’s the times I choose my words well that I get the best results. The following advice on choosing your words comes from my colleague Jeff Mowatt – Jeff also deals with one of my pet peeves, rude people who don’t recognize there is a time and a place to take cell phone calls.

At one of my seminars a participant who works at a deli counter asked, “How do you politely deal with a customer who is talking on a cell phone while you’re trying to take their order?”  My response: “Say to him or her, ‘I’ll take care of you when you’re finished with your call.’  Then move on to the next person in line.”  The results:  1) You feel better about yourself and your job.  2) Other customers appreciate your tactful handling of the matter since they don’t want to listen to the annoying customer either.  3) The customer suddenly realizes that employees here need to be treated with respect.  The key is the positive phrasing.  Notice we did not say, “I won’t serve you while you’re on the phone.”  Instead, it’s “I will take care of you when…”

Jeff Mowatt

Check out Jeff’s Influence with Ease tips. Jeff’s comments always give me insight into effective customer service.

Garth Roberts