The Power of Appreciation

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In Dale Carnegie’s “How To Win Friends And Influence People,” one of the most important qualities he mentions for getting along with people is honest and sincere appreciation.

What happens when you don’t show others appreciation? You communicate that you don’t care what they’re doing, that they really don’t matter all that much to you and that what they do is of little significance. After all, if what they’ve done did matter to you, or others, someone would notice, wouldn’t they?

Contrast that with acknowledging people’s contributions and appreciating them for their efforts. You send them a completely different message. You show the person that what they are doing is so important that you remember every little detail. Not only that, what they are doing is so valuable to you, it must have similar effects on other people too. In turn, that must mean what they’re doing is creating a lot of value for a lot of people and possibly altering the world for the better.

Studies have shown that not only do people who have shown appreciation feel more positive about themselves, but also, others feel more positive about the individuals who have shown them appreciation. In fact, entire towns have caught onto this concept and have turned showing appreciation into a public relations opportunity.

The town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina sends out thank you notes.  And not to its most upstanding citizens, it sends them to people who would have otherwise gotten a parking ticket. In the past, those who have overstayed their parking meter time received a ticket resulting in a $15 fine.  Of all cars ticketed in Chapel Hill, 33% of them are first-time offenders.  However, town officials now do something rather unique; first time parking offenders won’t find a citation on their windshield if their meter runs out. Instead, they receive a thank you note that reads, “Thank you for visiting downtown Chapel Hill.”

The town call this a “courtesy ticket” program and dismisses first-time violators’ $15 citation. The city stands to lose over $12,000 in missed fines, but gains positive association from the many visitors and shoppers who frequent the town.

Do you need some good PR? Try showing someone appreciation today. Did someone say something nice to you? Tell them you appreciate how nice they are and how much their words encouraged you. Did your CA go out of her way to do something special for you or a patient? Let her know. Do you have a patient that brightens your day with their timely visits? Send them a card letting them know how much you look forward to their visits. Or, take the lead from Chapel Hill, North Carolina and send a note of appreciation to someone who is completely unsuspecting. The core of showing appreciation is to convey the message to the other person that you appreciate something they have done for you or others. Usually, just saying it sincerely is enough to convey the message.

Something that costs you little time and money could mean the world to someone who so desperately needs to hear that their actions make the world a better place.

Since writing a note of appreciation is going to have a major impact on someone, it’s important to do it right.  Below is a summary of how to write a good thank you note by Rosalie Maggio in her book, “How to Say It”.

  • Write the note promptly.
  • Mention specifically what you are thankful for.
  • Express your gratitude in a “enthusiastic, appreciative way”.
  • Tell why you like what you are thanking them for.
  • Close with one or two sentences that are unrelated to the object of your gratitude (i.e., saying something nice about the person, sending greetings to the recipient’s family, mentioning that you will see him or her soon)
  • Never express more than you feel.  In worst case scenarios, a simple, “Thank you very much” will do.

In closing, never underestimate the power of appreciation. The principle of having an attitude of gratitude will not only take your practice further in the eyes of the public but will also echo the truth in BJ Palmer’s statement: “We never know how far reaching something we may think, say or do today will affect the lives of millions tomorrow.”




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