Say the magic words, revisited
Originally published 8 September 2021
Gently edited for content and length
ROAMcare Revisited is a look back at some of our more memorable posts. Please join us on a look back as we make a clearer path forward.
Do you remember hearing, “What’s the magic word?” as you were growing up? We learned those Magic Words because it pleased our parents and teachers. We used “please” and “thank you” to unlock our wishes and needs. Experience taught us each time we proclaimed, “Thank you!” a smiling adult granted our requests and returned the gratitude with a hearty, “You’re welcome!” Somewhere along the way through time, those magical phrases seemed to have gotten lost. The Magic Words are disappearing from our society, our schools and workplaces, even our homes.
Time and time again, surveys reveal things employees value more than rewards and awards. At the top of most lists, is to be noticed. Feel free to substitute children, parents, spouses, partners, friends, or colleagues for ‘employees’ as they also value these intangible things. In a 2017 interview with INC. Magazine, business author and speaker, Todd Patkin identified 10 phrases employees want to hear that boost morale, including thank you. He says, “People treasure your appreciation more than you realize.” Mary Hope, HR expert and career coach recently released “Seven Phrases Employees Want to Hear from their Boss.”* They are:
1) Thanks for that! (Thank you for getting that job done)
2) How are you?
3) Thanks for this! (Find something specific every day to recognize)
4) Yes, I see you.
5) Yes, I know you are working hard.
6) Thanks! (Just to be polite!)
7) Yes, I know you have an opinion and it does matter.
Did you notice, three of the seven are Thank you? The people in your life, in all areas of your life, are craving these phrases!
You can increase everybody’s mood and feeling of satisfaction by treating everyone with the same courtesy learned a lifetime ago. Start a meal with “Let’s all take time to enjoy ourselves and this dinner,” instead of “Dinner’s on the table! Put your phones away and eat!” or begin a meeting with “if I can please have your attention, we’ll begin now” rather than “okay, let’s quiet down and get started.” When assigning chores, directing activity, or asking for help, begin with “please.” When somebody has had a difficult project, a heavy load to carry into the house, or a particularly long stretch of the routine, say “thank you.” Yes, even if that is their job, their assigned task or chore, or their turn to do it! Make it your routine every day to find a reason to thank somebody for being exceptional, because every day somebody is doing some exceptional thing. After a while, people will notice and will not be embarrassed to say please and thank you themselves. When people thank you, return the gratitude with an energetic “you’re welcome!”
Good manners never go out of style. Everybody becomes more engaged, more productive, and more fun to be around when they feel valued, and they feel most valued when they are treated like people.
Please be polite. Your friends, family, everyone you spend time with will thank you. It is the right thing to do.
*Hope, Mary. 7 Phrases Employees Want to Hear from their Boss (2021). Undercover Recruiter. https://theundercoverrecruiter.com/phrases-boss/