I was reading a post the other night by Todd Smith in his “Little Things Matter” blog. The post was about showing appreciation — having the “attitude of gratitude”, if you will. He wrote about the importance and benefits of doing it, but also had some good concrete steps to take in order to act on it. After all, it’s great to have appreciation in your heart, but with networking, it has its best effect when you show it.

You can read Todd’s post for his ideas on how to show it. The first step, though, will be to bring to mind all those people to whom you should be grateful. Make a “Gratitude List”.  We’ll use it later. I started making mine tonight and within ten minutes had easily thirty people on the list. Here are some ideas that might help jumpstart yours.

  1. Spouse or significant other
  2. Parents (each or collectively)
  3. Spouse’s parents (they must have done a good job!)
  4. Siblings
  5. Friends
  6. Doctor
  7. Dentist
  8. Veterinarian
  9. Boss
  10. First boss
  11. Clients
  12. First client
  13. Person who gave you your first referral
  14. Person who gives you any referrals.
  15. Vendors
  16. Speakers you’ve seen
  17. Organizers of events you’ve attended
  18. Officers of groups you belong to
  19. Mentors
  20. Anyone else who has made your life easier.
Now that you have that list, act upon it. Once a week (more if you want), grab a name off the list and write a specific, personal thank you note, telling that person exactly how your life is better for having known them. Then send it.
I guarantee that receiving such a note from you will make their day (and probably their week).  Even more, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they kept your note to read whenever they are feeling a bit down. Such is the power of a little appreciation. Do remember, though, that you are doing this not because you are expecting something in return. You are doing it because it is the Right Thing to Do.
So, go out and make someone’s day.  You’ll be surprised how much yours is brightened, too.