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The Importance of Saying Thank You

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In my career I’ve put out a lot of fires on other people’s behalf. They’ve come to me with a problem, or I just happen to notice something they are doing that is going to end in a lawsuit….so I say, “Hey…. maybe you might want to reconsider that.”

They listen, take it in, and most of the time act on it. Perhaps they are embarrassed they should have known better themselves, or maybe they are a type A personality that likes to maintain control, and can not acknowledge when someone has assisted them – whatever the case I find the common thread to be that barely anyone ever says “Thank You”!

Your contribution to their endeavour just gets glossed over, and of course they would never dare tell anyone what you did for them. God forbid they should acknowledge somebody knew something they didn’t! Don’t be this person!

Careers are long and during that time you will find a lot of people making both big and small contributions to your trajectory forward, and a lot of seasoned people keeping you out of trouble. If you think they are doing it for their own health and amusement think again. They are doing it because they like you, and want to see you do well. And you know what happens when you don’t acknowledge their gesture or say “Thanks”…. they like you a little less, and are probably not going to be so willing to involve themselves next time.

Some people are offended enough, that when it happens again, they will quite happily sit back and roast marshmallows over the blazing fire you can’t seem to manage to put out. And the reason you can’t put it out is you burned one too many bridges, and nobody seems to want to give you the time of day any more.

If you don’t acknowledge people, and let them know you appreciate their time and expertise, trust me it will happen. People will begin to distance themselves from you because you have shown yourself to be an ingrate… and people don’t like ingrates. Ingrates act as if they just have a right to the knowledge inside other people’s heads, and don’t take into consideration, that they’ve taken up somebody’s time and energies.

So whatever you need to do suck up your pride, open your mouth, and utter the words “Thanks for helping me.” Trust me, it goes a really long way!

This industry is about relationships and you want respectful relationships. The people who are acting as mentors, or are assisting you in some way, big or small should know that their contribution mattered to you, you acknowledged it, recognized it for what it was, saw its importance, and made it a priority, when the smoke cleared, to take the time to either make a gift giving gesture, or a verbal one.

Flowers can go a long way! And in saying that I do recollect ONE time in my career. I had helped someone negotiate their first broadcaster contract and they turned up at my office with the most beautiful bouquet I have ever seen. I liked these people, and continue to like these people, and if they asked again, I would help them without hesitation! They saw the effort I put in on their behalf, and that I had educated them in something they were not yet familiar with. The information was valuable to them, so they acknowledged it. And I appreciated it more than anyone would ever know, because it was nothing I had experienced before that day or since.

People are people, and whether they are willing to admit it or not they like to be acknowledged. Not doing so is insulting. So be conscious of what it is you’re asking for from people. And be cognizant of the fact they also have a busy schedule, and they are taking time away from theirs to offer you a few minutes. That is cause for thanks enough.

Make it a habit to be grateful to others and imagine where you’d be without the information they have offered you. Chances are good not very far. Really look at what their contribution has done for you.

Right from the beginning of your career, through to the end of your career, you should be using the word Thanks a lot of the time because the making of a career really does warrant it! You are only as good as your support network, and you don’t want to see your support network disappear on you, because they know what they are in for…. yet another one of your patented brain picking sessions with nothing in it for them.

A lot of people charge for their time! If they aren’t charging you the least you can do is act and behave like you’re grateful. Because if they decide one day that they don’t want to serve this role in your life anymore, then you’re going to have to find the next willing participant, and the next….and on and on it goes.

So it boils down to one simple thing. One simple question. “Did I acknowledge what that person has just done for me?” And if the answer is no then remedy it as soon as possible before they stop taking your calls!

Katherine Di Marino

About Katherine Di Marino

Beginning her career in 1994 as the Producer’s Assistant on the TV series Highlander, Katherine was eventually awarded an Associate Producer mentorship by the CMPA on the Showtime series Dead Man’s Gun. She went on to gain a broad knowledge base throughout her work at Peace Arch Entertainment and Omnifilm Entertainment in the areas of development, production and business affairs. During her career she has been involved on many projects including Francis Ford Coppola’s sci-fi series First Wave, David Steinberg’s comedy series Big Sound, the ½ hour dramedy Robson Arms, five Lifetime Network movies, the animated series Pirate TV, along with nine documentaries. She also did two stints at Creative BC as an Analyst. She has done work for over 20 broadcasters and won numerous international awards. Katherine just produced the movie “Rio Heat” – a Canadian/Brazilian co-production featuring Harvey Keitel.