3 Tips to Showing Appreciation


By: CECILIA GORMAN, Creative + Talent + Partners

All employees no matter what their positions or how well they perform want to be appreciated. They want to feel like the work they do matters. And frankly, with our crazy busy days, showing appreciation for the folks we work with slides to the bottom of the to-do list.

To show appreciation for others (at work, and even at home), you’d be well served making better efforts at connecting first. Think about it. If you feel connected to your spouse, you inherently feel more appreciated. Or said in reverse, if you feel disconnected, you don’t really feel appreciated.

Connecting begins when the other person feels like they matter to you.

Here are three tips to showing appreciation, rooted in taking steps to connect.

1. Physically Connect

There’s physicality to connecting with others, a proximity to being able to show you care. Isn’t this true? When your kid has been away at camp for a week, you feel physically disconnected. Sure you can send a postcard, but that’s not quite the same as hanging on the couch together or a big long hug.

And it’s true to the same degree even if we are home in the same house together. See if you’re in the living room watching TV and I’m in the bedroom reading, we are not connecting. No, sending a text doesn’t count.

It also holds true at work. If your boss is tucked away in their office and you’re two floors away in your cube, you aren’t connecting.

Anyone who has ever managed people in offsite location knows exactly what this feels like.

During my time working at Oakley, I managed a team that sat in another building not more than a mile away. Can I tell you how many times I left them off an all-department email or forgot to include them in a team lunch?

An embarrassing amount of times! I literally just forgot about them because I wasn’t physically near them every day.

If you want to show appreciation, consider physically being nearer in person. 

2. Look At Them

This one’s a game-changer. So simple, so basic that it’s a wonder we don’t utilize this one more often, but sadly we don’t.

Look at them. Yes! Visually connect.

When you look someone in the eye, you tell them that they matter. You tell them they’re valued and are worthy of your attention.

Looking at someone is the ultimate sign of respect you can give another human being.

Any one who has ever taken kids at the pool knows this. What do children do the entire time while at a pool?

“Mommy! Watch! Watch this Mommy! Mommy, look! Look!”  

Children have an incredible need to be seen, and guess what? We never grow out of it. As adults we still want to feel like we matter.

The people around you still need you to look at them and show them they are worthy of your attention. This is the ultimate sign of appreciation.

3. Put Your Phone Down

So much disconnect happens when you‘ve got your phone in hand.

I went to lunch recently with a guy I used to work with, someone I hadn’t seen in a while. We sat down at our table and we’re in the middle of catching up when his phone rings. He mentions he doesn’t recognize the number and says, “I’m just gonna grab this.”

Then he proceeds to talk for over 10 minutes. 10 minutes!

I was dying. I couldn’t pretend to eat anymore, moving my beans and rice back and forth like I was contemplating every morsel.

It was incredibly disconnecting and certainly didn’t make me feel like he appreciated our time together.

Who in your life do you need to put your phone down for?

Who in your life do you need to give some attention to in order to convey how much you appreciate them? I’m sure you can think of a few right this second.

Someone in your life needs you to look at them more and value them with your eyes.

Having visual connection makes me feel like you are listening to me. Actually, it implies that you are listening. It certainly doesn’t guarantee you’re listening, but it certainly implies it. And guess what? We all want to be heard, about as much as we want to be seen.

By taking steps to connect on a deeper level with the people around you – at work, at home – you’re taking the same steps to showing them you appreciate them.

Connecting opens the door to the wonderful world of appreciation.