One Word or Two?

woman buying coffee

In Canada this is Thanksgiving weekend, a  holiday also celebrated by our US neighbours (in just over 6 weeks) as well as in Brazil, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Liberia, Leiden in South Holland, Norfolk Island and Puerto Rico. It stems from a tradition of celebrating and giving thanks for the harvest, as well as for the blessings of the year.


It has been a tough year. No matter where you live or what you do for a living, this past year has definitely delivered more chaos, change and challenge than anticipated.

So this season, in addition to acknowledging all I have to be grateful for,  I’m thinking about particular words I want to use more often. You may want to join me.

What are these words? What is the impact of using them?

The single word is ‘Thanks‘. It comes to us from Old English meaning “to give thanks, to recompense, to reward” and also from the Proto-Germanic, meaning “thought, gratitude”. The related phrase that we most often use is ‘Thank You‘.

As a child, both my parents and my teachers made using these words mandatory. They were an essential, and frequent, etiquette. Much of it seemed to be related to respecting my elders. What I’ve now learned to be true is these words are a simple, easy way to create clear, powerful communication that supports trust and grows relationships.


  1. They allow us to verify we’ve listened to someone, understood what they’ve shared with us, i.e. “Thanks for that information, Sanjay. That adds an exciting new element to our project.”
  2. They quickly show appreciation (which we all love to receive), i.e. “Thanks for keeping me informed” or “Thank you for all the effort you put into your work.”
  3. They dispel someone’s feelings of being taken for granted, i.e. “Thank you for all the support you provide” or “Thank you for always being there for me.”
  4. They show that we think about the other’s actions and are grateful or honoured by them, i.e. “Thanks for working with me” or “Thanks for choosing our company for this event.”
  5. They are memorable and help others remember us, i.e. “Thanks for including me in these interviews.”
  6. They make both the giver and receiver happier and healthier. (There are tons of studies that prove this. I encourage you to check out Gratitude at Work.) i.e. “Thanks for a great day.”
  7. And they strengthen relationships, even on a bad day, i.e. “Thank you for being part of my life.”

Of course, whether you choose Thanks or Thank You, you want to infuse the words with energy and authenticity. An insincere thanks is destructive.

Make sure your words hold their authenticity by saying them with a smile.

When possible, face the other person and make eye contact. Allow for a pause both before and after you say these words so the emotion they carry is both received and felt. The person you say them to will feel them, and so will you. Whether you use one word or two, you create stellar communication.

Thanks to Daley Progress for sharing this quote: “The smallest thanks is always worth more than the effort it takes to give it.” — Unknown

What are your thoughts? Are you expressing thanks to others? Do you write thank you notes? Can you do it more often?


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