Saying and responding to Thank You is a MUST. It builds relationships and trust with US American clients and colleagues.
Using pleasantries like please, thank you, excuse me, you’re welcome, I’m sorry and others are required to communicate politeness with native Western English speakers. Some Indian speakers of English may not be using these pleasantries as much as Western speakers of English as in native languages in India these pleasantries are often built into the form of the verb used in the sentence. As the form of the verb doesn’t change the level of respect in English, saying of pleasantries and use of tone is important to communicate appreciation, respect and feeling.
Saying thank you is often a change of thinking and behavior for Indians who do not use these words in their native language or typical thinking process. The first step is learning when and how to use thank you and finding a new comfort with using these words as many Indians feel Americans overuse these words (not only among colleagues, but friends and family, too). The other step is learning how to respond when others show appreciation to us. Responding with the right word leaves the listener with a good impression.
Thank You – You’re Welcome
Thank You – No Problem
Thank You – Don’t Mention It
Thank You – My Pleasure
Thank You – Anytime
Thank You – You bet!
While you’re welcome is a formal response to thank you, to add variety, no problem or don’t mention it can also be used. No problem and don’t mention it roughly mean “It’s great to be thanked, though we were just doing our job.” (Or something similar.) “You bet!” is a very informal synonym of ‘my pleasure.”
Why Say Thank You At All?
Some may wonder, why should we even say thank you if the answer means “it’s not necessary to say thank you.” That is why these phrases are called pleasantries. Much like small talk, pleasantries help to make the conversation feel friendly and polite. There is no harm in saying this. There is a harm in NOT saying this. If pleasantries are avoided, most Western native speakers of English will come away feeling the person they are speaking with is rude and doesn’t care about them.
Avoid THESE response to Thank You:
Thank You – silence
Thank You – OK
Many Indians who feel uncomfortable when hearing thank you may remain silent or say ‘ok’. Both of these responses should be avoided. Silence may be slightly better than OK.
Responding to thank you with ok can communicate a lack of care or appreciation. Although we know that is not what is really meant, the native English speaker will think this out of habit. Most Western speakers of English are taught from childhood that people who do not answer our ‘thank yous’ are ungrateful and uncaring, and possibly, too, that they don’t like us.
We know that is not the impression you would want to set with your US or Western native English speaking clients. The best way to change this impression is to start practice saying ‘thank you’ and it’s responses today. If you are uncomfortable starting saying this with your clients directly, practice with your colleagues in role plays or in interoffice emails first. Only with practice can a new behavior become a habit! Start it today to enhance your client relationships.
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