Some people truly go above and beyond. They give of themselves in a way that compels you emotionally to let them know how much they helped you. Sure, you could just say thank you or even shake hands. But when someone improves your life in a significant manner, you want to find an approach to gratitude that speaks emotionally as well.

No doubt, whoever touched you so deeply did not go out of their way just to get a reward. They gave selflessly. So when you communicate back to them, you must do so with respect and class worthy of their deed and generosity.

It's not always easy to show gratitude that's meaningful and not over the top. So to help you show major appreciation, here is my best tip, plus more ideas from my Inc.com colleagues.

1. Write a poem

You don't have to spend a lot of money to make someone feel appreciated. Some heartfelt poetry can both surprise and delight. It doesn't have to be corny. You can send it by email or write it on some fancy stationery. Either way you are sure to delight with a rhyme. Just think:

If you just spend some time
To create an interesting rhyme
You can let people know
How they made your heart grow
And give them a feeling sublime

2. Do it over time.

 

Saying thanks is powerful but transitory. Showing appreciation happens over time, which means staying in touch. So set up an alert on the individual's name, company name, or topics of interest. Then you can periodically reconnect with something to offer: congratulations, info about new competitors, industry trends, etc. That turns a generic "thinking of you" into a much more meaningful "I immediately thought of you when I saw this." Jeff Haden--Owner's Manual

Want to read more from Jeff? Click here.

3. Take the time to write.

In my experience, the most meaningful and effective way to show gratitude is to send a handwritten thank-you note. Spoken and emailed thank-yous are relatively common, but it's a rare leader or manager who actually takes the time to sit down and write a note of thanks to a member of his or her team, or to a valued client. People know that, and they value written thank-you notes far more than other forms of thanks--so much so that most display them proudly in their offices for all to see, often many years after they were received. Peter Economy--The Management Guy

Want to read more from Peter? Click here.

4. Use the original social media.

In an era when it's all too easy to send a thank-you email or text and all-but-invasive to make a thank-you phone call, the best way to show gratitude is to actually mail a hand-written thank-you card. The person who gets it will know you took the extra time and thought to write a card and drop it in the mail with a nice stamp. The recipient will appreciate your efforts that much more. Plus, you'll get the added bonus of feeling grateful a little longer than usual as you write out each note and wait for it to arrive. And who doesn't like to get something real in the mail, which is such a rarity these days? Dave Kerpen- Likeable Leadership

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5. Give the gift of time.

Nothing says "I appreciate you" more than an investment of your time, especially because everyone knows how busy you are. I was blessed with an incredible mentor and boss during many of my years in corporate. Lisa made certain to spend time with me in and outside of the office on a regular basis. Knowing how much she believed in me inspired me to be at my best at all times. The tangible gifts I received from other peers and bosses are long forgotten, but Lisa's gift of time will forever be remembered and valued. Think about what's most important to others and invest a bit of yourself to make it happen. Marla Tabaka--The Successful Soloist

Want to read more from Marla? Click here.

6. Be specific

When showing gratitude, you may use general phrases like "thanks for your help" or "I appreciate the time you spent on this project," but one of the best ways to show your gratitude is to acknowledge how others have specifically helped you succeed.

Resist the temptation to be too general. Share a specific example of what they did for you and how it made a difference. If they inspired you to push outside your comfort zone, thank them for inspiring you to take the risk, and let them know the outcome.

If possible, make this acknowledgement in front of others, using their first names instead of pronouns. The impact of this approach is long remembered and serves as future motivation. Eric Holtzclaw--Lean Forward

Want to read more from Eric? Click here.

Published on: Sep 26, 2014