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The Most Motivational Two Words...

So easy AND powerful

Want to know the most motivational two words in the English language?


Whoa. You might think “thank you” is used for appreciation, not motivation. We say “thank you for the ride,” we send thank you notes for gifts.  Emily Post tells us to show our appreciation as a matter of etiquette.

But there is another side to these wonderful two words. They motivate people.

Appreciation is a form of recognition. Recognition energizes people to do more of the same. Thank you is a form of private recognition.

So if you want to energize your work group, say “thank you” – allot. Recently I asked a retiring volunteer organization president how he managed to have such a successful year, and he responded, “I thanked the (heck) outa people!”

How easy are these two words to say?  The more you say these two little words to the people in your business, the more results you will get.  It’s true.  Try it.  And when you think you have thanked people enough, thank them sommore, because you can never do it enough!

And thanks don’t always have to be said. Send a handwritten note. Send an email. Leave a voice mail message. Something is always better than nothing.

Caution:  “Thank yous” are great, but they MUST be sincere.  A false thank you can be detected immediately.  So… only sincere thanks are allowed!

When I think about August on Nantucket, many of the hard working folks are "tired" of not being appreciated. I think thank-you's mean alot, and especially at times like that. Not just August, but anytime.

The best expressions of thanks are those that are specific. By making your appreciation very specific, you’ll energize the receiver to do more of the same. Which sounds better?

  • Thank you for your participation in the meeting.
  • Thank you for sharing your well researched statistics about the xyz project in the meeting. It helped us understand the impact of  xxx.

Here are a few ideas:

  • At the end of your day, or your work day, take a few minutes to actively think of the things people did that you appreciate.  Write them in a journal, or your planner.  Find a way to personally appreciate the person(s).
  • During a meeting, make a note of things you appreciate.  Call the person(s) aside at the end of the meeting and tell them.
  • Write a personal note thanking someone for a job well done.
  • Send an email specifically describing the appreciated behavior and copy the person’s boss

The best news is that these two words are free. Use them often, and watch the energy in your business grow.