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“The appropriate response to feedback is to say thank you”


Originally uploaded by freerangelibrarian.

I went to the Sunset Magazine annual open house today, a marvelous event in Menlo Park, and due to bizarrely unseasonal rain, it was… soggy. The rain pounded down, visitors huddled under tents (such as were available), and vendors looked forlorn.

But every time I engaged with a vendor, to sample a snack, buy a wine tasting, or pick up a travel brochure, this is what I heard when I extended my sympathy:

“Thank you. Thank you for being here. Thank you for engaging, for tasting our wine, for eating our oysters, for even just browsing through our booth goodies, or for smiling and waving as you walk by.”

I have learned at My Place Of Work (MPOW) that “thank you” is the most important phrase I know. “Thank you” means I’m listening, I understand, even if I can’t fix it or I don’t agree. “Thank you” means we’re on the same wavelength–that we’re connecting.

I really appreciate Pete Bromberg’s post about L2 and conversations. I felt it today, when I was soaked in rain to the knee and elbow, trying to connect with these local vendors. Neither the vendors or I could stop the rain, which pattered into our wineglasses and took out the fizz on the barbecued oysters and pretty much guaranteed that there wasn’t much spontaneous dancing going on at the slack guitar booth. But we could all connect, bound up in a mutual goal, even as the rain poured. When the vendors said “thank you,” I felt it too, and I knew what Pete meant.

“Only connect.” That itself is worth a rainbarrel worth of thanks.

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