When my eldest, Flynn, went for his first job after finishing school he ended up being the youngest person they’d ever hired. I don’t doubt that he did great in his interview, but it’s what he did after the interview that gave him the advantage.
When he got home I said to him, “Flynn, be the 1%” and suggested he reach out to them again as soon as possible. After the expected rolling of the teenage eyes and “Seriously Mum” he implemented what I call my ‘Thank You For…’ strategy.
This simple framework using 3 extra letters and one extra word turns a transactional “thank you”, into an intentional and thoughtful “thank you FOR…”. It helped Flynn secure his first job and I’ve seen client relationships blossom, dream jobs achieved, new business opportunities secured, and powerful networks built using this framework.
The “Thank you for…” framework is simple and yet few do it. I have shared this framework with thousands over the last decade, from conference stages and front-of-room workshops, and yet few of the audience follow-through. I call it a 1% strategy because those that take the time to say “thank you for” and who follow the 3-step framework below with me are the people that I remember, I support, and I keep connected with.
A simple Thank You is no longer enough. It’s transactional and it’s expected.
On the other hand, “Thank You For…” takes a little more effort, it is intentional, it’s unexpected and it becomes memorable.
“Thank you for…” shows an appreciation for the connection and any information shared or conversation had. It shows a respect and gratitide for the time you spent together. “Thank You For…” forces you to get present and curious about the impact a person has had on you. “Thank you for…” is about value exchange, it shares with others how they and the moment mattered.
Here’s the 3 step T.A.D framework – why not give it a go today.
Step 1 – (T)hank you for…
After every meeting, work connection or networking event, think of one way that something they said, their work, or just their presence impacted you. Take this reason and put it in the sentence “Thank you for….”. The important part about this step is being genuine, nobody appreciates a fake compliment, but something that comes from the heart will make you memorable and have a positive impact on the recipient. For example:
“Thank you for the feedback on my proposal…..”
“Thank you for taking the time to share with me your thoughts on…”
“Thank you for having this meeting with me, I appreciated you sharing more about your company…”
“Thank you for taking the time to take my call and answer the questions I had on…”
“Thank you for the dinner conversation about…..”
“Thank you for our conversation about xxxx at the XYZ event, I really appreciated your insight.”
Step 2 – (A)sk
Ask, “is there anything I can do for you?” Everyone has something to give and this offer in the question is the value exchange and deepens step 1. The recipient may or may not take you up on this offer, but by making the offer it gives them pause to think.
Step 3 – (D)o Something
Commit to the next step and doing something. It could be offering to catch up again over coffee and suggesting a time. It could be booking in a meeting to discuss a potential collaboration. It could be forwarding some information you promised. It could simply be a commitment to connect again in 2 weeks time to update them on any progress you’ve made. You’ve been intentional about connecting and now it’s time to turn intention into action.
And it’s really that simple.
Why does it work? Because it shows that you were present enough in the moment to take notice, to remember who they are, that you were interested in them and what they do or what they had to say and that you are committed enough to follow through. This is intentionality. You can’t bulk send the same message to everyone because it’s been specifically personalised to them and the impact they’ve had on you. It helps make you memorable and it can drastically shake up your network for the better.
Give it a try this week and see the difference it makes.
Because if it can land Flynn his first job, it can help you build a network that inspires, motivates, and drives you to achieve your goals. (And if you want to go one step further here’s what I do. I allocate one hour a week in my diary as “R.A.K Hour”. This Random Act of Kindness hour, every week, is the time when I reflect on the people I have met that week, the conversations I’ve had, the commitments I’ve made and I use this hour to follow the 3 step T.A.D framework above).