Management + Leadership

How gratitude can help build your network

Thank You. Danke. Merci. Gracias.

Simple words, powerful words and a powerful concept. It is amazing how far a simple thing like saying “thank you” will get you. Have you ever found that you feel better when someone tells you “thank you” or expresses their gratitude for your work? I certainly have. It is an uplifting experience.

Showing gratitude in any interaction leaves a positive impression on those with whom you have associated. As you participate and serve others you may not do so for recognition or reward, but you still feel a swell of good emotions when someone reaches out and notices your work and effort.

What does this have to do with dentistry? Everything. Saying “thank you” is an integral part of practice-building, practice-management, networking, dental school life, volunteerism and so much more.

As an applicant to dental school I would send thank you cards to those who interviewed me. This was a perfect way for me to express gratitude and show my interest in the process and the school at which I had interviewed.

As a student you should be grateful for teachers, staff and mentors for taking part in your education – usually for less compensation compared to what they could earn elsewhere. There are many professors who go above and beyond for me, either looking at and critiquing preps or sharing advice on a variety of subjects. Perhaps having thank you cards on hand for times when a lot of help was provided would be a good idea.

As a professional you should give thanks for all the groundwork that has been placed in front of you by others. Dentistry is an amazing profession to be a part of and we have many people to thank and look to as examples on how to carry this profession forward.

As a business owner you should be thankful for those who come in and take part in your business along with acknowledging those who help you run, manage and keep the business functional. One of my mentors is amazing at this. He is always trying to bring a smile to people’s faces and complimenting everyone.

The power of thank you is something you should also be able to accept from others. You provide help, support, time, talent and other services to those around you and people will recognize it. You should be able to accept their recognition and gratitude for the precious gift it is. There is an established mutual respect and understanding for the service you provided when someone needs it.

Before, during and after dental school you are afforded the chance to meet and work with so many new people. As you go through the journey, be sure to express your thanks to those who have helped you in any way as they will be your support system and network throughout your career.

One way to start showing gratitude is with an electronic thank you. To download the thank you image from the top of this post, click here. Send this to a mentor, classmate or a professor who has helped you in the past week. A heartfelt thank you should include a concrete example of what they did to deserve your gratitude. This will cement your compliment and make your gesture resonate with the recipient.

Have a networking dilemma? Let Mouthing Off help! Tell us what you want the next Mingle Monday video to address in the comments below. We just might answer your question next month on Mingle Monday!

~ Steve Truman, Pacific ’16, chapter president

Steve Truman

Steve is a first year dental student at University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry and recently became the president of his ASDA chapter. Outside of school and ASDA commitments he volunteers frequently with Pacific's student run community outreach effort and his local church. He avidly reads fantasy and sci-fi novels and also enjoys a good tennis match or basketball game.

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