Are You A Gracious Business Professional?

Are you a gracious business professional? The word gracious is defined as: marked by tact, kindness and courtesy, characterized by charm, good taste and generosity of spirit. Is that the way that you would like to be described? What is preventing you from acting like that?

When I ask that question, I receive many different answers and they all are centered on one theme: "Vickie, you don’t understand, in my world I don’t have time to be gracious – I have to drive results." My answer is that I do understand, and I make the following request. Please take ten minutes a week to show some "graciousness". After six months let’s evaluate what your return on investment (ROI) is on those ten minutes spent each week.

In the business environment, one of the best ways to convey graciousness is with a hand written thank you note. Therefore, your assignment is to create one thoughtful hand written thank you note each week for the next six months. Below are some examples of situations that would warrant a thank you note:

· Write to your best customer and tell them how much you appreciate their business.
· Write to someone on your support staff, the person who is instinctively always there and tell them how much you appreciate them making your life easier.
· Write to the person who leads any event or volunteer association that you participate in and benefit from (parent teacher association, industry association, and your local book club).
· Write to your child’s soccer coach and tell them thanks for giving up their Saturday mornings to benefit your child.
· Write to the person who you would like to work for (your next boss) and tell them how much you appreciate them "championing" your ideas.
· Write to the top producer on your team and tell them how much you appreciate the job that they do.

And while we are on the subject, in my work with people in career transition, can you guess how many candidates actually follow up after an interview with a thank you note? The answer should be 100% but unfortunately it is not. About 72% of interviewing professionals in this country DO NOT send the thank you note. That means that you can totally set yourself apart from 72% of your competition, by simply being gracious. Why is this important? The statistic that was quoted is that 88% of high level executives say that it HELPS to get the job if you follow up with a hand written thank you note.

Please note that a hand written thank you note is far superior to a typed note or an email. Taking the time to hand write a thank you note lets the receiver know that you are truly grateful and sincere in your expression of thanks.

Go ahead, take the challenge, what ever your status in your career, spend ten minutes every week for the next six months and see what your ROI becomes. On a consistent and honest basis, this might be the one thing that helps your career the most. Congratulations, you have taken the first step to deriving results from within.

Vickie Bevenour is acclaimed for her ability to inspire business leaders to become star players. She has channeled more than two decades of corporate experience, hundreds of hours of business coaching and years of leadership facilitation into a coaching platform that gets results. Vickie holds an MBA from Tulane University; has a Master’s Certificate in Business Coaching from UNC Charlotte and is a Certified Professional Coach (PCC) candidate from the International Coach Federation. Vickie is the President of the RDW Group, which stands for "Results Derived from Within" and her greatest pleasure is being a partner in the success of her Clients.

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