Incorporate this Small Change into your Interactions with People

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Every week, I write an article to share my learning or discovery during my startup journey. Here is the link to my reasons for penning these articles for myself and for many others like me.

This week, I understood the true meaning of a phrase. This phrase is taught to us in our childhood, first by our parents and then by our elementary school teachers.

It is so strange that I realized the significance of this phrase during my startup journey.
The phrase is “THANK YOU.
Surprised? So was I when I realized the positive and profound impact of this phrase.

It is not that I do not feel thankful for the people around me. It is just that I do not express it in words most of the time.

“Silent gratitude isn’t much to anyone”

I worked with a startup a few years back. The owner was from Israel and had lived in the United States for a decade. I learned many things from him. One of them was to say “Thank you” very often. It came so naturally to him. Whenever we shared the status of our task or any other activities related to the company’s work, this guy always said, “Thank You.”

I am one of those unsocial persons who use this phrase sparingly. I don’t know the reasons behind my behavior of thanking my team member less often than needed.

Maybe I feel that it is the team members responsibility to complete their tasks, so what is the need to thank them. Or how would this phrase “Thank you” motivate them to do more in their assigned task.

After many years of using the “Thank You” phrase either sparsely or halfheartedly, I now understand its true benefits.

I have realized that- Although we say “Thank you” to another person, but it does not bring so much benefit to the other person as it brings to the person who speaks these words.

One of the most common “Thank you” situations that I have faced in my life is as follows:
A person helps me in achieving some tasks. I feel grateful to that person. I want to acknowledge their contribution and express it by saying, “Thank you.” But many times, it is a very conscious effort from my side. Sometimes I say these words, and sometimes I forget as well.

My startup journey helped me in correcting this inconsistent behavior.

This is how I learned this deep insight about the phrase “Thank You.” :

In my startup journey, I reach out to strangers for product idea validation or customer interviews. I talk to them to understand their views on my product idea and if it could solve their problem or if they would be ready to buy this product once it comes on the market.

I need to reach out to the content creators for this product validation. I am connecting with online course creators like Udemy instructors or podcasters. Anyone doing the content delivery in audio form fits my target customer persona.

I generally send a LinkedIn connect request to a person I consider a good fit for my customer profile. Along with the connection request, I also sent a personal note.

Unfortunately, this note only has a word limit of 300 characters in case you are not on the Premium LinkedIn service. So here is a short message of fewer than 300 characters that I attached with the connection request:

“I see that you are a Udemy instructor. I am working on a useful product for content creators like you. I need to reach out to potential customers to validate my idea and understand their pain points. Would you be interested in talking to me?“

Last week, I reached out to a Udemy instructor from Japan. He responded positively to my LinkedIn connection request. When I requested a 30 min. online meeting, he readily accepted it. He listened to my product idea during the meeting and shared his valuable feedback.

As I had also recently launched my first Udemy training, we had a lot of common things to discuss. He sportingly agreed to test my product once it gets released in the market. I thanked him for his suggestions and time for talking to me.

Here is the ONE thing that I did differently from my earlier behavior. The next day, I sent him a “Thank you” note on LinkedIn messenger.

My note read like this:

“It was great speaking to you yesterday. Thank you for sharing your valuable input. It will help me a lot in my product journey.”

I feel that this repetition of our gratitude in written words greatly impacts the other person.

Here are some statistics about my cold outreach on LinkedIn. The response rate of my first connect message is less than 20%. Some people do accept my connection request, but either they do not respond to my personal note, or sometimes they respond that they are busy with their work and cannot spare time for the customer interview.

And the response rate of my follow-up “Thank You” message is 100%. So people will always reciprocate my “Thank You” note and make themselves available for subsequent communication.

This reminds me of a concept, “Rules of Reciprocation” mentioned in a book by Robert Cialdini — Influence

Excerpt from this book —

One of the most potent of the weapons of influence around us — the rule of reciprocation. The rule says we should try to repay, in kind, what another person had provided us. By virtue of the reciprocity rule, then, we are obligated to the future repayment of favors, gifts, invitations, and the like. So typical is it for indebtedness to accompany the receipt of such things that a term like “much obliged” has become a synonym for “thank you” not only in the English language, but in others as well.

The next day, when I was checking my Udemy course statistics. I found that I got a new student. My new student was none other than the same Japanese guy to whom I had sent a thank you note earlier.

Infact he also posted the URL of my Udemy course on his LinkedIn account to increase the visibility of my course.
A few days later, he also gave a positive review for my course.

With this instance, I learned that my follow-up “Thank You” message has multiplied the positivity in our communication resulting in this LinkedIn post share from his side.

I talked to another guy who was a podcaster. After our first conversation, I followed the same process of sending a thank-you note. Again, I got back a more positive response with the intention to create a long-term collaboration.

With these two examples, I feel that saying “Thank you” and then reiterating it with another written “Thank You” note immensely multiplies the positive outcome of your interaction with people.

I would strongly encourage everyone to incorporate this small change (in case you are not doing it already) in your interactions with potential leads, team members, customers, or any other person you connect with through different communication channels.

Wishing you a great week and hope you get to hear and say a lot of “Thank You” this week

The next article will be published at weekly intervals. If you like my article please give me a follow 😇 or simply send me some claps and feedback.

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Anju Aggarwal

Anju Aggarwal

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A budding entrepreneur journalling her in-progress startup journey. Expertise in Products, projects & Process management in the IT domain.