If you’re grateful but don’t take the time tell anyone, does it count? Probably not. When shown appropriately, gratitude has tremendous power, helping you to open doors, solidify relationships and even change careers. The key to giving and getting with gratitude is knowing who to thank, when to thank them and how to do it.

Ready for some tips on gratitude? Read this issue of Promotional Consultant Today. Who do you thank?

Thank Up: When bosses take the time to support you, provide you with an opportunity or include you in something to which you’re not usually privy—thank them. Chances are, the next time they are deciding to whom they will extend an invitation, your name will appear higher on the list than it might have had you failed to recognize an earlier kindness.

Thank Down: Maybe your team stayed late to finish a project. Or, someone put forth extra effort to create a presentation. Perhaps an employee who has had a hard time meeting expectations finally does so. If you want those types of activities to continue to occur on any kind of regular basis, you need to recognize them.

Thank Out: Customers, colleagues, and suppliers will support you if they feel you acknowledge their efforts. If you want to grow and build your network and workplace support system, those are the people you must cultivate. Doesn’t it make sense to nurture the relationships you have with them?

Thank Around: Do you take the time to thank your office’s cleaning staff? Have you done anything to appreciate the cafeteria’s cashier? How about the security guard? A lot of people forget those individuals who provide that daily foundation to help us be successful. Chances are nobody would miss the CEO if he or she were absent for few days. Try that with the janitorial staff—it’s not a pretty thought.

When To Thank: The world would be a kinder and gentler place if people displayed more grace. Can you imagine how your workplace would function if everyone expressed sincere gratitude at least once an hour? Motivated, appreciated and valued are some possibilities that come to mind. When you think about it, once an hour may be a bit much at first, but it is not a bad goal to work toward. And as with most activities, the more you do it, the easier it will become.

Gratitude should feel real and be relevant. If either one of those elements is missing, your “thank you” will most likely seem hollow.

Ready for some more gratitude tips? Read PCT again tomorrow.

Source: Kate Zabriskie is the president of Business Training Works, Inc., a Maryland-based talent development firm. She and her team help businesses establish customer service strategies and train their people to live up to what’s promised.