August 8, 2013

The fear of "Thank you:" Get over it



First there was the rule "Never thank your audience. They should be thanking you!"

I wrote on this blog that I find that rule ridiculous and that I always thank my audience (at the end, not the beginning). The audience has taken time out of their busy schedule, maybe paid money to attend, they've collaborated and partnered with me to create a fulfilling and memorable experience, and damn right they deserve to be thanked.

Now, I'm seeing this trend in e-mail marketing, teleseminars and other places where the writer or speaker could be showing appreciation to their attendees and readers but instead are saying things like:

"Congratulations!"

Or using words like "acknowledge/affirm/recognize" instead of "thank."

I admit that I use "congratulations" sometimes when someone has signed up for a program. I do want to celebrate their decision to take a big step forward in addressing their public speaking concerns and expending the time, money and commitment required to grow as a speaker.

However...

I think the "fear of thank you" is -- again -- ridiculous.

If you tell someone "thank you" for signing up for your program or attending your webinar, you are somehow in a "one-down" position, conceding some sort of advantage or superiority to the person who signed up? The audience should be thanking you for your brilliance and wisdom, but you shouldn't be thanking them because somehow if you thank them, you become the needy, subservient, desperate party? It's wrong to show gratitude that people came to your event or joined your program or downloaded your e-book? Poppycock!

I just don't get it.

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6 comments. Please add yours! :

Peter Billingham said...

Recently, at a Toastmasters evening, the evaluator brought me to task because of that very fact, that I "thanked" the audience at the end of the speech. I too, do not get it! To recognise and to mark our gratitude for the attention and above all, time, I just think it is plain decency. Sometimes, people may have paid to hear us, but the biggest cost to them is time, that is not redeemable, so to say with gratitude, thanks just makes sense to me. No pun intended, "thank you" for reminding as this important fact.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Peter, thank you for your reply. :-) I agree that it's just plain decency, as you've said. There are so many reasons to thank the audience, but only one reason NOT to that I can think of: Egotism!

Matt Tomsho said...

Dead on Lisa! It is easy to forget that your audience, whether they spent money to hear you or not, has invested their most valuable commodity of all: their time! Of course you should thank them. With Toastmasters, having been one for 9 years, and watched others truly struggle, I think it is more of a device to help people relax and get their butt up in front of the room. You are training people to become more confident in delivering their material, and that what you have to say is truly worth listening to. That said, some people could take it the wrong way and turn it into an ego thing.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for stopping by, Matt! Audiences always appreciate validation - who doesn't? It's another way of showing your audience that it's not all about you. Maybe something TM should be teaching more of?

Deborah Merchant said...

I agree with the importance of thanking the audience or participants in a class, etc, for their attendance and participation. It's just plain basic good manners, since they did not have to be there. I will also use words like 'acknowledge' when the results of the talk or class include some accomplishment on the part of the attendees, or when it is clear that some if not all will pay forward what was presented in class. To me, it is vital to also acknowledge and affirm these kinds of accomplishments/growth, because, as others have commented on this blog post, they are bringing themselves to the party, sharing time, energy, possibly money, and their own personal engagement with the material of the presentation.
Deborah Merchant

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Thanks for your comment, Deborah! I'm happy to see that others are also reasonable about this issue.

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