Don’t ever doubt a simple “thank you” has power. An associate professor at Harvard Business School has published a brand-new book about influences on human behaviour and decision-making. In it, Francesca Gino shares insights from her experiments with gratitude.
Francesca and her colleagues asked students to provide suggestions, by email, to a so-called fellow pupil (he was phony, of course) who wanted help polishing his job application letter. Half the group who helped got a rather neutral response: “I received your feedback on my cover letter.” The rest got actual acknowledgement. “I received your feedback on my cover letter. Thank you so much! I am really grateful.” (If you ask me, the exclamation mark really ratchets up the appreciation factor.)
No shock here. The students who were thanked were more than twice as likely to feel better about themselves after providing the help. Furthermore, they were also twice as likely to agree to assist the next fake student applying for a fake job.
Gino calls this the “gratitude effect” and says she was surprised by these research results. But I’m not… are you?
P.S. Thank you for reading this! I am so very grateful.