Growth September 5, 2016 Last updated September 1st, 2016 1,962 Reads share

Expressing Gratitude: An Essential Practice for Business Success

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The benefits of practising gratefulness stretch far beyond personal happiness and wellbeing, though feeling good in ourselves should be reason enough to adopt a thankful attitude. Expressing gratitude is also an effective business strategy that can help you engage and connect with clients and employees, attract new customers, successfully overcome challenges and recognise opportunities. And best of all – it doesn’t cost a thing.

A successful business relies on its customers and employees, so it’s important to cultivate and nurture these relationships by consistently providing positive experiences. Everyone loves to feel valued and appreciated. And when you make other people feel good, they’ll be more inclined to support you and demonstrate loyalty. As a result, you will boost overall productivity, increase revenues and increase your chances of enjoying long-term success.

#1. Improve client relations

It’s important not to focus all of your attention and energy on the customers you don’t yet have, lest you neglect and take for granted the ones you have already acquired. Fostering strong relations with existing clients is far cheaper and easier than constantly attempting to generate new leads.

Happy customers who feel appreciated and valued are more likely to remain loyal. What’s more, they’ll be inclined to share their positive experiences with others and refer new clients your way. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful and credible marketing tools around, so be sure to use it to your advantage.

Very few businesses offer something totally unique that cannot be acquired elsewhere. The key is to create an experience that makes people want to come back to you time and time again and tell others how great you made them feel. Don’t forget about them once you’ve got their money – that’s a short-sighted attitude and a missed opportunity to create loyalty for life, attract new clients and enjoy continued, measured success.

#2. Increase employee retention

Employee recognition is one of the most effective management techniques, yet it remains largely underutilised by many businesses. Just like clients, employees are under no obligation to remain loyal to you. A regular pay check and an office water cooler are not always sufficient. If you fail to recognise, appreciate and acknowledge their contribution, however small, you’ll send a very powerful message – that they are not valued or important. This can be incredibly damaging and will directly impact their motivation, performance and loyalty.

Humans are not dissimilar to dogs when it comes to praise and reward. Perhaps steer clear of saying “good boy/girl” and offering a biscuit – though, personally, I respond very well to edible rewards. By expressing genuine gratitude to employees, you encourage repeat behaviour and they will feel inspired to work harder for you. A simple thank you can go a long way to improving job satisfaction and employee productivity.

#3. Achieve personal excellence

Giving thanks not only makes others feel good, it’s great for our own health and wellbeing. According to a Harvard Health Publications, “In positive psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.”

If you simply focus on the negatives and all of the things you don’t have or haven’t achieved, you’ll fail to recognise the goodness in your life and appreciate what you already have. This kind of mindset is incredibly damaging. It cultivates a never-ending cycle of dissatisfaction and general frustration which, ultimately, will impact your ability to cultivate positive relationships, recognise opportunities and achieve the personal excellence you desire.

Gratitude exercises

Many of us approach the practice of gratitude from a position of established pessimism, which we’ve usually acquired through learned behaviour and cultural conditioning. It takes time, effort and dedication to change our perception of the world and our position within it. But don’t let a little challenge stand in your way – think positively and be grateful for the opportunity to change! Below are three simple gratitude exercises you can start today.

#1. Keep a gratitude journal

On a daily basis, take 5 minutes to really think about what you’re thankful for that day. This is a great way to start noticing and appreciating the little things you may take for granted. Try to be specific, as opposed to simply writing “I’m grateful for my health”, for example. The things that have the biggest impact on our lives tend to be the least significant, but the seemingly trivial acts and events that we fail to notice are often the key to happiness and success.

If you’re having a particularly bad day, your gratitude journal can be used to tackle negative thought patterns and regain perspective. Life is never without its challenges and we cannot always control the outcome of every situation. But we can control the way we deal with life’s adversities. Use misfortune to your advantage – learn from the experience, take what you can from it and think about what you could do differently in the future if the same situation should arise.

#2. Jar of thankfulness

When something great happens that really stops you in your tracks, write it down on a piece of paper and pop it in a jar. You can start this activity whenever you like and continue adding pieces of paper for any length of time you wish, but it’s particularly effective to do it for a longer stretch of time and read through all of your positive experiences at the start of the new year. This will help you take stock of what’s good in your life and set you on the right path for the year ahead.

#3. Giving thanks to others

If you’re thankful for someone in your life, tell them. And when you say thanks, really mean it. When an employee does something well (even if it’s a task they perform daily), acknowledge their dedication and praise them for a job well done. Take the time to remind clients that they are important to you, and not just on certain holidays when you’re hoping to boost your sales. Give thanks to suppliers and couriers for their efficient services. Show your appreciation to your friends and family for their continued support. Everyone plays a vital role in your success, so be sure to let them know.

Image: Definition of word gratitude in dictionary

Rachel Craig

Rachel Craig

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