As the U.S. enters its annual pause for the Thanksgiving holiday, I’m reminded of the power of the simple act of giving thanks.
Over the past many months as I’ve expanded the pace and reach of my travels, I’ve been struck by the fact that –regardless of culture—real connections happen when people say “thank you,” either over a meal, at a business meeting or simply passing by on the street. In a world of racing against time, the most basic common courtesy has too often become collateral damage.
Whether at a hawker center in Singapore, a bistro counter in Paris, or particularly when being herded like cattle in an airport, the expression of “thank you” can actually be quite startling. I was reminded of this recently when, after serving on a search committee for Denison University’s new president, I received written thank yous from both the chairman of the search committee and the chairman of the board. Both of them lead extraordinarily busy lives, and yet they took the time to say thank you.
The effects of thank you can be far-reaching. Studies have shown that expressing gratitude has a sort of “pay it forward’ effect – people feel valued when they are thanked, and in turn, they are more inclined to not only help the person who thanked them again, but also to help others.
So quite simply, to all the Edelman clients and colleagues around the world with whom I have the pleasure to work, I say “thank you.”
“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”
Matthew Harrington is the global chief operating officer
Feature image by Ben Fredericson.