The Online Business of Being Thankful

Just in time for Thanksgiving in the US, a blog by Realtime Casting’s Steven Lowell about the “online business of being thankful”

thanks realtime castingI wanted to start off this blog with a quote:

“The simple act of saying ‘thank you’ is a demonstration of gratitude in response to an experience that was meaningful to a customer or citizen.”

The quote is definitely true when it comes to business, but in today’s online work environment there is a demand for gratitude even when the experience was not as meaningful as expected. Before continuing, I can say this blog will be helpful for anyone working online, either as an independent voice talent or part of a casting website. I can also say that to those who worked primarily before the Internet, when there was more face-time, you may already know “what” I am about to write. But do you know “how” people are saying “Thank you!” online?

“Where have all the thank you’s gone?”
The way people communicate has completely changed in the last seven years. You may have said “thank you” to people once by calling or emailing them. But did you ever consider sharing a friend’s demo, clicking a “Like” button, or commenting on a blog to be a form of “Thank you”? It very much is a way to give thanks because you are showing an appreciation for effort. It is a form of “thanks” to take something you found online and share it on Facebook to let a person know, “When we worked together, I appreciated it.”

For those who prefer more “tangible” forms of Thank you’s they may appreciate a postcard or phone call. But for working online those “Thank you’s” may only provide moral support, which is important, but may not help your business. Unless of course you took that “Thank you” note, scanned, named who wrote it, the business they are in, and wrote about why it happened.

Sounds silly? Think again
Whenever a person says “Thank you” to a colleague or business online, whether it be through a testimonials page or Yelp review, the text reading “Thank you!” contains the sub-text: “You can trust this person who has been thanked”. Not only does that help your online exposure as a business, but in a work environment where only 32% of businesses are “trusted”, you need that extra show of support. In addition, one should understand that “who they decide to thank” begins to create an online reputation for “what the person is like to work with”.

“Thank you’s” when rejected
Unfortunately, the online world is fueled by “opinions” and there is a negative and popular online culture today of “fighting back to not feel humiliated”. Many have lost the ability to simply say, “Thank you for your opinion.” What many confrontational types forget is that the business of finding out “who” is thankful enough to give opinions and feedback can be very expensive. Through the reaction of aggression to the action of supplying feedback, a person finds out quickly, “It is safer to just leave a person alone.”

Does this mean, “Thank everyone you work with or were rejected by”?
It would be a safe bet to do so, but never start attacking or burning bridges when you were not pleased with someone online, especially someone you worked with. Instead, take the approach of either “silence”, “Thanks, but no thanks”, “Thank you for everything. It is time to move on.”, or one of the various forms of “Thank you’s” below:

a. “Thanks for the opportunity. Maybe next time!”
b. “Thanks for the offer. I am grateful, yet I must decline at this time.”
c. “Thank you for the experience. It certainly was educational and I appreciate that.”
d. “Thank you for this. I regret that the timing is not right for me.”

I have noticed over the years that the ability to say “thank you”, even when you are being rejected, shows a person has integrity and strength of character.

What is happening in the above statements?
You are letting a person know you take nothing personally and your decision has nothing to do with him/her, and leaving the door open for the future.

Taking Thank You’s from the email bag
In the last two years, I reintroduced myself into the world of “rejection”. I had been steadily working since 2003. The business of being “unemployed” is one I always try to end quickly, so I know little about it. Yet, in the last two years I have found myself saying, “Thank you”, in the following ways. Note: Thank you gmail for saving all my rejection emails. πŸ˜€ See below:

  • “Thank you for the great opportunity. It truly was more education than I had ever expected from a simple interview. Please keep me on hand if anything changes.”
  • “Thanks for trying. I just feel the timing is not right for me.”
  • “Thank you. I am truly grateful. This is just a project I cannot immerse myself in right now. I do wish the best for you and please write me.”
  • “Thank you for all the hard work. I have simply discovered relocating would not be possible due to family obligations. Please, let’s reconnect in a year or so.”
  • “Thank you for everything. You have a great business and I understand why I am not a great fit. If anything changes, please let me know.”

How did I really feel when writing the above emails? It does not matter. It is better to be business professional and say, “Thank you”, for being rejected. Drama is for stages, TV, film, and behind the mic. And besides…I am thankful for my wife, the entire voiceover industry, and allΒ  business owners or managers who made the choice to put up with me. πŸ˜€

For your business, focus on why you should be thankful, and the other stuff simply becomes easier to handle. This may help you turn your network into a giant. And to leave you with a thought…do you want your “giant” to look like this:
jolly green giant


OR this….


Happy Thanksgiving from Realtime Casting!

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