The Power of Two Simple Words

Posted on June 27, 2016 by Melva L. Jones, Director
Melva L. Jones, Director



Recently, I came off a great event in partnership with one of the University’s colleges. During the event, I asked a team member to keep a thank you list to help me remember those who made contributions to this significant effort. On this list was a young man who had just celebrated his 20th birthday and was working his first “real” job; yet, he felt invisible because his role was to vacuum and move tables and chairs. Even though his work did not place him in a conspicuous position, I definitely “saw” the effort and commitment he made to do a quality job. And when I let his employer know how impressed I was with his work, the young man received a financial bonus. The smile on his face when he learned of this reward is something that inspired me through the following week. I know I talked about this a bit in the Everyone Matters blog, but the theme of giving thanks is so critical for event planners I believe it is worth revisiting again and again. So here are three ideas to consider for your future event planning:

  1. Add giving thanks to your event to-do list. Because there are so many details you have to manage, don’t let saying thanks be the one item you forget. I once managed a high-profile gala at Gotham Hall in New York City that featured a very well-known celebrity. Though the organization I worked for didn’t have a lot of money, they created a personalized thank you gift for that VIP who, for years after, publicly and financially supported the organization.
  2. Broaden who you thank. I once had a manager who, after every event, gave middle management a token thank-you, but she never thanked the larger team in a comparable way. After a few events, I finally said that while I appreciated the acknowledgement I thought she should consider thanking people beyond middle management. The same year that she opted to extend the gratitude and appreciation happened to be the same year we conducted an organizational employee health survey—and quite a few responses noted that her thank-you celebration was one of their highlights.
  3. Get creative. As a state-based institution we must always be good and conservative stewards of our funds. One low-cost way to say thanks is to send an email/e-card to the person you want to thank and copy their supervisor or include a picture from the event and write a note about their accomplishment on the back of it. At minimum, a simple verbal “thank you” can go a long way.

Have you ever worked extremely hard and were completely ignored? That didn’t feel great, right? Alternatively, have you worked really hard and been recognized for your effort? How did you feel? For me, even the most basic acknowledgment that my efforts have been recognized can be energizing. So, the next time you plan an event, or if you attend one and are impressed, go out of your way to be encouraging; two simple words—“thank you”—can help someone get through their day.  Happy planning!

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