Tuesday 26 April 2011

In praise of saying thank you

My blog today was inspired by the TED talk by Laura Trice that I have included above. She encourages us all to genuinely thank each other more and to be honest about the praise we need.

The value of praise
We are bought up thinking that saying thank you is just good manners, part of social convention, as arbitrary and subject to change as the custom of shaking hands and one of those things that 'young people these days, have no(ne of)'. But as we grow up we realise the underlying value of saying thank you, the value of praise. We realise our need as a species to have our efforts recognised and appreciated, as a way of feeling a valued part of our communities.

Having worked in several different organisations I have experienced first hand how much difference it makes to feel that your work and efforts are being recognised and valued. For a start it motivates you to keep going and to try harder for the organisation, it also makes you feel happier and more content with your job.

However, saying thank you is not just important in a work setting. Thanking people is such a small effort from you, but can make such a huge difference to how the other person is feeling, especially if they are very busy and/or stressed. I think if we all took the time to properly thank the people around us for what they do, rather than just assuming that they know we are grateful, then it could have amazing effects on our society. People would feel happier, communities would be stronger, people would feel less isolated, less trapped in a faceless world. One small gesture of human compassion could make a much bigger difference than you realise.

I find it all too easy to just not get round to thanking people for things, as Laura mentions in the video I some how feel a bit embarrassed by it sometimes. It is also so easy to assume that people know you are thankful, but even if they are, they are still going to appreciate a thank you! In our time poor world it often seems to be one of the things that doesn't quite happen, but I know what its like at the other side too, the slight disappointment and uncertainty of not receiving a thank you.

In a voluntary organisation, such as Transition Norwich, it is very difficult to ensure that everyone gets recognition for the effort they put in. Especially when there is not one person in control who sees everyone's contributions. However, it is so important as everyone is giving their time for free and wants to feel an important part of the community.

Thank you
So I would like to take this opportunity to thank some of the people that have put tremendous amounts of time and effort into making Transition Norwich the success that it is. Tully Wakeman, Christine Way and Chris Hull, who were all members of the original core group, put in lots of effort to get the whole thing started and have stayed very involved doing an awful lot of work behind the scenes without enough thanks. So I would like to say a massive thank you to them for all of their hard work. I would also like to thank Charlotte DuCann, Mark Watson and Andy Croft for being the biggest movers and shakers of the communications team to date, they are responsible for the website, the monthly bulletin and this blog and they have put massive amounts of time and effort in to making them so brilliant.

To all of you - we massively appreciate all that you have done and still do.

There are of course many other people who have made Transition Norwich the success that it is and I am very thankful for everything everyone has done, you are all amazing.

And thank you very much for taking the time to read my post and for being caring and conscientious enough to want to make this world a better place.


  1. Dear Kerry,

    Received and appreciated... with thanks to you too!

    All the best, Mark

  2. Hey Kerry...lovely piece and thank you from me too! By the way I too have been inspired by many a TED talk so nice to see this one.


  3. Cheers Kerry - Acknowlegement sure is hard to come by, especially if you're in the Transition communications business! So thank you for this . . . though I'd like to add that the bulletin and this blog would not happen without you either - all the pieces you post, come rain or shine, plus your cheerful and optimistic spirit.

    All the best,

  4. Thank you very much for the thanks, this put a smile on my face today. Enjoyed your post also on judgement recently. While we're on the subject, I think you are very courageous and genuine with all your actions and I take my hat off to you and your resilience! Keep on keeping on... with best wishes to you and all TNers, Andy

    P.S. How about that Action for Happiness campaign? Looks to me like 'dumbing down depression', tailor made to get people involved in anything that stops them looking for the REAL answers and solutions to the world's problems and their own - i.e. a movement like Transition. Oh well, they got the Dalai Lama on board so maybe it's a sheep in wolf's clothing?