To answer this question, I think it’s helpful to review the definition of the word acknowledgement, as offered by the Free On-line Dictionary by Farlex:
ac·knowl·edg·ment or ac·knowl·edge·ment. (noun)1. The act of admitting or owning up to something.2. Recognition of another’s existence, validity, authority, or right.3. An answer or response in return for something done.4. An expression of thanks or a token of appreciation.
- People might worry that their gift to you didn’t arrive safely or got lost in the delivery process.
- People like to be acknowledged for their thoughtfulness. “It’s the thought that counts” is nice and all, but it feels good to be recognized for that generosity, too.
- We all need to manage our personal brands for business, career and life success. The practice of acknowledging gifts and saying thank you to people is part of what makes us respectable, admirable and likeable people.
So, what’s your excuse?
- I’m so busy. We are all so busy these days, and sometimes we don’t take the time to do the right thing. If you timed yourself, you could probably knock out a personalized handwritten thank you card in under 2 minutes. Having supplies of note cards and stamps on hand can speed up the process. Two minutes and probably under a dollar to implement. Are you really too busy to handle that?
- I forgot. With aging and/or too much multi-tasking, our brains can become overwhelmed and lose short term memory capacity. Simple “to do’s” such as “write a thank you note; acknowledge that gift” can go missing from our short term memory. Sometimes we actually think we did it, but do not keep a record of what we have done and what we have not done. The cure? Write down the task and keep it visible until it is completed. Mark down that is has been completed.
- No one ever taught me that I needed to do that. It’s always convenient to blame the parents for our shortcomings in manners and etiquette. That being said, it’s an easy thing to teach yourself how to do, no matter how old or young you are. Time to catch up on this important life skill: etiquette. This year, I have purchased packages of thank you note cards for all of my nieces and nephews. An ideal stocking stuffer, if you ask me.
- Didn’t you get my text? We assume that our electronic messages are successfully received and appreciated. How can you be sure? Also, is texting a thank you note for a gift received even the appropriate communication channel to use? I think that it is appropriate to let them know that the package arrived safely. But you’ll want to take more time and care in thanking them for the gift with a handwritten card or verbal thank you.
- I couldn’t accept your gift due to our corporate policy. What is the protocol for acknowledging a gift that you are not allowed to keep per company gift policy? You may have had to return the gift, donate or destroy the gift. What type of correspondence do you send to the gift giver? (a copy of the corporate policy?) If you have insight into this delicate matter, please share it on my Facebook Page – Networking Ahead for Business.
Your Networking Goal for the Week
Saying Thank You doesn’t cost you anything. It feels good to say and certainly feels good to hear. Get into the habit of acknowledging and thanking other people, in a timely and personalized way, for the gifts they give you.
Start by purchasing some blank thank you note cards and some first class stamps and have them ready.
If you get a gift in the mail, send an electronic message to let the sender know that their package arrived. A simple subject headline such as “Your Package Arrived Safely. Thanks” will suffice.
Then go the extra mile by handwriting a personalized thank you card. Make mention of the specific gift they gave you in your note. Don’t be too vague (“Thanks for the gift. I really liked it.”), or they might think you didn’t really take notice of it or appreciate it.
Set a standard for yourself to send out your thank you notes within 48 hours of the event – the same as any other networking follow up.
Doing this will help sustain and enhance your relationships with the people who think enough about you to send you a gift.
Thank you for reading this networking tip. Your readership is a gift to me.