Escape the Gratitude vs Platitude Trap
November is the typical month for giving thanks, spreading good will, and appreciating the things in life that you have. However, for women business owners, every month is the time to show gratitude, and unfortunately, many of us also spread platitudes without even realizing it.
I’m sure you can think of the many ways you show thanks to your clients and your families. They probably range from the simple, “Thank you” to generous gifts and meaningful hugs. But do you ever give thought to how much you mean your thank yous? Are they said with your heart behind them or are they empty words? Platitudes perhaps?
So many of us smile as a natural reaction, or perhaps a learned reaction, when a client has taken the time to speak with us or ordered from our businesses. Has your smile lost any of its sincerity? Do you find yourself smiling and really thinking, “Come on, already. I have three more important things to be doing”?
A platitude is a pointless, unoriginal, or empty comment or statement (yes, a facial expression is a statement) made as though it was significant. Many comments of gratitude often fall into this category, such as:
That was so nice!
I couldn’t have asked for more!
These are not always meaningless or insignificant comments, but they are likely thrown around much more often than they are really felt. Here are a few ways to say things that you really mean.
- Think before you thank. For example, if you were on the phone with a client and your are wrapping up the conversation, do you want to say thank you for their time, their business, their advice? Wrap what you really mean into the thank you, it will be much more sincere and your client will certainly appreciate the difference.
- Before you appreciate a nicety, what made the effort the person made “nice”? Was it the time they gave you, the thoughtfulness that went into the effort, or perhaps someone went above and beyond what was called for. Again, spread your gratitude wisely and with an explanation.
- Could you really have asked for more? Did you ask for something in the first place? Are you being given a gift because it is a holiday or birthday or for no specific reason? Is your client/family member really saying thank you to you with the gift? Slow down and analyze what you appreciate. If you are receiving a gift for a special occasion, perhaps gratitude for their remembering the occasion is in order.
Being thankful is important in our lives. Spreading good will can only invoke the same in others. But falling into the platitude trap because you feel you are supposed to be grateful can be more harmful to your business than beneficial. Take your time. Think before you thank, and mean what you say!
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