29 October 2011

No, Thanks (in Advance)!

You've all seen it in an e-mail: "Blahbiddy-Blah. Please do X for me. Thanks in Advance!" How did it make you feel when you read that? Likely, you took it to mean that the person really appreciates you for helping them out. But is that really what they are saying?

Taken literally, they are saying, "I'm thanking you right now for something that you haven't done yet. I don't know how well you will do it, so you may end up not helping me at all, but thanks anyway." That kind of 'thanks' doesn't strike me as very meaningful. Instead, it seems a lazy way of checking a social norm box.

When someone does something exceptional for you, thank them at the point of delivery. If they tried their best but didn't end up being that helpful, you can still thank them (for their efforts, at least). Yeah, it might be one more e-mail clogging up somebody's inbox, but that is a small price for preserving a sense of value in the work that we do well.

6 comments:

latin cupid said...

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Jeff Myers said...

When I receive something that says "thanks in advance" or I write an email that I sign "thanks in advance" it usually means that the writer kinda knows the recipient won't do it but in reading the "thanks" it's a little pressure. My take-

Ladies 18-25 said...

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Sean said...

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Australian business toll free number said...

Nice blog When I receive something that says "thanks in advance" or I write an email that I sign "thanks in advance" it usually means that the writer kinda knows the recipient won't do it but in reading the "thanks" it's a little pressure.

Jeff Shepley said...

@Aussie. Good point!