There are three words that I believe are critical to a successful asker: “please” (which seems a bit obvious) and “thank you” (which often gets overlooked). Expressing gratitude to those who deserve it has become a challenge in our culture. Many of us do the internal stuff–thanking the universe, making our daily gratitude lists–but how many of us do the external stuff? For example, when was the last time you said “thank you” to someone?

Several years ago, I was sitting in a staff meeting. The topic of discussion was, “How to Better Motivate Our Employees”. Most of us immediately leapt to staging big team-building events, which the company could not afford. Then, a very wise woman (and tiara wearer) said, “How about we all start saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’?” Dead silence in the room. How beautifully simple! Just say “please” and “thank you”. Have you ever been reluctant to take on an additional task because you hadn’t been appreciated for doing the extra work last time? Using these three little words made a world of change in my department in this company. My team was happier and more motivated, and other people were dying to come work in my group.

Start expressing your appreciation and gratitude today. Here’s an easy way to begin (and one of my personal pet peeves): If someone holds a door open for you, SAY “THANK YOU”. Is that really so hard? Do you really have so much on your mind (or such a high opinion of yourself) that you can’t take the fraction of a second? Or will it take a door slamming on your head or hand or foot to wake you up and make you appreciate us door-holders?

OK, rant over. My point is, will you start appreciating what you receive (and the person or entity that gives it to you), or will you continue to live in your bubble until a door slams you in the head?

Any other words that you think are key to a successful ask? Pop down to Responses and share ’em.

Originally published at

Originally published at