How to say ‘Thank you’ professionally

Andjela Vidojevic

Last updated on: March 10, 2022

The phrase ‘Thank you’ is so simple, yet so meaningful. It embodies one of the most powerful sentiments we can feel — gratitude.

But, is there a fancier way of expressing our appreciation for someone? How do we say ‘Thank you’ in a professional way?

We explore these questions, as well as why it’s important to express gratitude at work in great detail in the following blog.

How to say ‘Thank you’ professionally - cover

Why is it important to say ‘Thank you’ at work?

Giving thanks is not just a nice gesture. Research suggests that it’s so beneficial that it can literally rewire your brain and help you feel more positive in the long run.

So not only is it good for the recipient of your appreciation, but it’s also great for you.

Everybody wins!

Let’s take a look at some compelling reasons to start unabashedly giving thanks at work (which are backed by science).

🙏 Giving thanks is key to our general well-being

Turns out, when you feel grateful for something, all the right parts of your brain light up to help you feel great.

In fact, in positive psychology, gratitude has been strongly correlated with greater happiness, as well as strong interpersonal relationships.

So, if work tends to wear you down a bit, try expressing thankfulness whenever you have the opportunity — and see how it lights up the mood.

🙏 Giving thanks reduces work-related stress and health issues

We live in a world where one pandemic may be coming to a close, but another one is still raging on with no signs of stopping — the burnout pandemic.

But worry not — the simplest and most overlooked way of fighting work-related stress and health issues is giving thanks.

While this may sound like some wellness-industry mumbo jumbo, we assure you it’s legit. There’s research on building positive resources at work to back it up. The study indicates that taking a moment to reflect on the things you’re grateful for at the end of each workday decreases stress and improves overall health in the long run.

So next time you feel stressed out at work, take a moment to focus on the good things and express appreciation by sending out some thank-you notes to your coworkers.

🙏 Giving thanks improves job satisfaction

Research suggests that organizations can improve overall job satisfaction among employees by institutionalizing gratitude into their work culture.

Managers, we’re looking at you. By thanking your employees for a job well done, you boost their motivation and morale.

Likewise, when employees, in turn, thank their managers and other coworkers, together, they create an infectious climate of mutual respect and appreciation that spills into everyone’s work.

🙏 Giving thanks at work is linked to better employee performance

Studies show that one of the defining traits of high-performing teams is showing and receiving appreciation.

Employees who feel valued almost unanimously report feeling more motivated and engaged at work, suggesting that employee recognition is a key driving force behind high performance.

🙏 Giving thanks instead of apologizing can help shift perspective

If you’re a chronic apologizer, we’ve got a pro tip for you: stop apologizing and start thanking people in your professional life instead.

Whatever your mistake, thanking people for their patience, understanding, or other merits in regard to the error can help reframe their mind about it and see you in a more positive light.

For example, research indicates that saying “Thank you for your patience/understanding” is a much more effective recovery strategy than apologizing when dealing with dissatisfied clients.

By thanking clients, you put a spotlight on their merit instead of your mistake and drastically shift their perspective.

You can try the same in internal communication with your colleagues.

For instance, if you are late to a meeting, instead of saying “Sorry I’m late”, thank everyone for their patience and see what happens.

However, some situations, such as workplace conflict, do require you to say you’re sorry — which doesn’t mean you can’t also thank the other person for accepting your apology.

💡 Pumble Pro Tip

Hop to our knowledge hub for a bunch of detailed guides on internal communication:

Why are people reluctant to say ‘Thank you’ in a business setting?

Thanking colleagues, associates, clients, and other people in our business environment can feel like a slippery slope.

Why?

There are several reasons:

  • Work is often regarded as a competition, and some are worried that expressing appreciation to their higher-ups can sound like kissing up or masking an ulterior motive.
  • Some employees fear that their show of appreciation for a colleague may be misinterpreted as a romantic advance.
  • Others don’t want to risk choosing the wrong words and sounding unprofessional and even pathetic.
  • Ultimately, some professionals just don’t want to make their colleagues uncomfortable. Turns out a surprise compliment triggers in our brains the same pathways as a sneak attack (thanks, prehistoric ancestors).

However, the benefits of thanking people far outweigh our discomfort — we just need to be thoughtful about how we do it.

7 Tips on how to professionally say ‘thank you’

Saying ‘Thank you’ professionally doesn’t mean you need to pull out a thesaurus to find a fancy way to phrase it. No need to be weird about it — the phrase ‘Thank you’ is as good as any.

However, there are some practices to help you express your appreciation in a business setting without worrying about any of the abovementioned what-ifs.

👉 Check your motive for giving thanks

Gratitude works only if it’s genuine. The only valid reason for expressing it is actually feeling it.

Otherwise, it will sound inauthentic and phony.

So if you’re worried about how the other person may receive your gratitude, maybe your concern is rooted in a secret motive behind your thankfulness.

On a conscious level, you may not be instantly aware of this motive, but it pays to do a bit of introspection.

Ask yourself: “Is there something I want to achieve with this thank-you note, or am I really being appreciative?”

You may be surprised by what you find out. After all, we all want to stand out at work, and you may be unintentionally kissing up to your boss.

👉 Elaborate on what you appreciate and why

As we’ve mentioned, our brains can interpret a surprise compliment as a surprise attack and trigger a defense mode.

In practice, when we ambush a person with a compliment, especially in a business setting, they may instantly set their guard up and stop to think: “Wait a second, what does this person really want from me?”

The best way to prevent someone from questioning the motive behind your appreciation is to put them at ease by explaining why you’re thanking them straight away.

You can do so by providing the context before you actually say ‘Thank you’.

For example, if you want to thank a colleague for their help on a project, you can say something along the following lines:

“I was reflecting about my last project and how tightly I escaped missing the deadline, and I realized I truly couldn’t have done it without your help. So I just wanted to thank you — you saved me!”

💡 Pumble Pro Tip

Unfortunately, miscommunication at work is not a rare occurrence. If you want to know more about how to notice it and avoid it, you can check out our blog post on the subject:

👉 Choose the right medium to give thanks

You can hardly go wrong when choosing the appropriate channel of communication for expressing gratitude. As the saying goes, it’s the thought that counts.

However, there are a few things you might want to consider when deciding on the medium.

For instance, it might be better to put your message in writing so that the recipient can revisit the note and cherish it whenever they need a little pick-me-up.

You can send an email, text message, or DM in your team messaging app.

Of course, you also need to think about the nature of your relationship. A text message is much more appropriate for a colleague, whereas email may be a better choice for a client.

Moreover, try to put yourself in the recipient’s shoes.

For example, while it may be practical to hop on a quick call and give thanks, you may run into the “surprise compliment” problem again. In other words, the other person may feel uncomfortable as the nature of the video call requires them to react immediately.

It’s not a bad idea to consider a hand-written note either. Putting it down in your own handwriting makes it more personal and spares the person of the pressure of an immediate response.

If a colleague is particularly shy, you may even add a little note saying they don’t need to respond. It’s enough to know they got the message.

👉 Don’t delay giving thanks

The longer you wait, the more awkward it will feel when you chime in with a “thanks”. The best time to give thanks is always now.

Thanking someone for something they did two weeks ago might cause doubts and suspicion as to why you’re bringing it up just now. In other words, they may question your motive again.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t thank the person later if you’ve only just mustered the courage to do so. Just make sure to follow our second tip, i.e. set the context before you give thanks.

👉 Consider the level of formality you need to employ in your thank-you message

Depending on who you’re thanking and what your professional relationship is like, it’s wise to think of the different levels of formality you can employ in your message.

That is to say, as with any other kind of message, you should be careful about the tone you use.

Let’s break it down roughly into three levels of formality:

🔸 Casual thank you — You can be casual when giving thanks to coworkers and even managers, depending on the way you communicate in general.

Some phrases you can use include:

  • You’re the best.
  • Thanks a million!
  • You rock!
An example of a casual thank you in Pumble (team chat app)
An example of a casual thank you in Pumble (team chat app)

🔸 Semi-formal thank you — You can use semi-formal expressions with your boss, people from other teams within your company you don’t know well, and anyone with whom you have a respectful but distant work relationship.

Semi-formal is often “formal enough” for all occasions in many companies that embrace a more casual work culture.

Some phrases you can use include:

  • I truly appreciate…
  • I’m grateful for…
  • I just want to acknowledge…
An example of a semi-formal thank you in Pumble (team chat app)
An example of a semi-formal thank you in Pumble (team chat app)

🔸 Formal thank you — Depending on the nature of your job, you may need to take out your top hat and monocle when showing appreciation to your clients, business partners, other third parties, or even your boss.

Here are some phrases you can use:

  • Please accept my deepest gratitude.
  • I stand in recognition…
  • I sincerely appreciate…
An example of a formal thank you in Pumble (team chat app)
An example of a formal thank you in Pumble (team chat app)

👉 Personalize

This one is especially important if you’re sending out a lot of thank-you notes, e.g. to job interviewees.

Getting a generic thank-you note is worse than getting none whatsoever.

So if you’re going to send them, make sure to add a little something that will tailor the thank-you note to each recipient.

You don’t have to write an essay on why you appreciate them — just single out a detail or a thing about them you enjoyed the most.

For example, you can add something as simple as “We really appreciate the enthusiasm you showed for the role.”

👉 Keep it short and to the point

It’s one thing to write your oldest friend an epic poem on everything you want to thank them for and quite another to send a coworker a simple thank-you note.

In gist — keep it to the point.

This is especially relevant on a busy workday, and you never know how busy someone’s day is. Whoever you’re thanking in your business sphere, they probably get tons of emails a day already, so don’t make them read an essay of appreciation — a few lines will suffice.

Phrases to say ‘thank you’ professionally in different situations

If you’re not sure how best to express your gratitude professionally, don’t worry — we’ve got you covered.

Here, you can find thank-you phrases for various business situations.

✅ Thank you for your advice

We often take our colleagues’ or managers’ advice for granted — but taking a moment to acknowledge this advice will mean the world to them.

Here are some phrases you can use to express your gratitude for a piece of advice:

  • Thank you for your valuable advice.
  • Thank you for taking the time to speak with me.
  • I am grateful for your valuable insight.
  • I truly appreciate the advice you gave me.
  • Your advice has been most helpful — thank you!
  • I’m beyond grateful for the advice you gave me.
Giving thanks for someone’s advice in the business messaging app Pumble
Giving thanks for someone’s advice in the business messaging app Pumble

✅ Thank you for your help/support

Thanking coworkers for their help or support builds a positive work environment and makes them more likely to help us again in the future.

Here are some phrases you can use to give people at the workplace your thanks:

  • I really appreciate your help.
  • I wanted to express my gratitude for your help and support today.
  • Your support means the world to me!
  • I appreciate the way you supported me.
  • Your help is greatly appreciated.
  • I’m forever indebted to you for your support.
Giving thanks for help in the business messaging app Pumble
Giving thanks for help in the business messaging app Pumble

✅ Thank you for your great work

This section is particularly important for managers. Thanking your employees for a job well done takes little time and has a major impact on their performance and engagement.

Here are some phrases you can use to acknowledge their great work:

  • Thank you for a job well done.
  • You continue to exceed my expectations — thank you for the hard work you put into everything.
  • My special thanks to you for doing a great job on the project.
  • I applaud you for your excellent work this week.
  • I have to give credit where it’s due — great work today!
  • I would like to extend my gratitude to you all for your excellent work.
Thanking an employee for great work in the business messaging app Pumble
Thanking an employee for great work in the business messaging app Pumble

✅ Thank you for your consideration

Thanking someone for considering you for a job or a new role shows you value their time and attention and makes them more likely to choose you.

Here’s how you can thank someone for their consideration:

  • Thank you for considering my request.
  • I appreciate your taking the time to consider my application.
  • My deepest thanks for your consideration.
  • Your consideration is greatly appreciated.
  • I am truly grateful for your consideration.
  • My thanks and appreciation for your consideration.
Giving thanks for consideration in the business messaging app Pumble
Giving thanks for consideration in the business messaging app Pumble

✅ Thank you for this opportunity

Sometimes, a single opportunity someone has granted us can open many doors and propel us into the future. So, it’s essential to give credit to those who open the first door for you.

Here are some phrases to thank someone for an opportunity they gave you:

  • I cannot express how grateful I am for this opportunity.
  • Many thanks for giving me the opportunity.
  • I am forever grateful for this opportunity.
  • This opportunity has been a blessing for me — thank you from the bottom of my heart!
  • I can’t thank you enough for this opportunity.
  • I cannot stress enough how much this opportunity means to me.
Giving thanks for an opportunity in the business messaging app Pumble
Giving thanks for an opportunity in the business messaging app Pumble

✅ Thank you for your time

We’re all well aware of how precious time is, especially in today’s business world. Taking a moment to thank someone for the time they carved out for you shows them you’re a true professional, considerate of others.

Here’s how to thank someone for their time professionally:

  • Thank you for taking the time to meet with me.
  • I greatly appreciate your time.
  • Thank you for carving out time for me from your busy schedule.
  • I appreciate you taking the time to help me do this.
  • Many thanks for your valuable time.
  • Your taking the time to do this means the world to me!
Giving thanks for someone’s time in the business messaging app Pumble
Giving thanks for someone’s time in the business messaging app Pumble

✅ Thank you for connecting with me

The larger your professional network, the more opportunities open up for you.

Use one of these phrases to thank someone for connecting with you, whether on LinkedIn or elsewhere:

  • Thank you so much for connecting with me. It’s an honor!
  • Thank you for adding me to your network — I look forward to learning more about your business!
  • Thanks for accepting my connection request.
  • I’m very pleased to have you as part of my network.
  • It’s a pleasure to connect with you on LinkedIn.
  • Many thanks for your connection request.
Giving thanks for a new connection in the business messaging app Pumble
Giving thanks for a new connection in the business messaging app Pumble

How do you write a thank-you email professionally?

Writing a professional thank-you email is a piece of cake!

You just need to:

  • Make sure to include all the standard elements, 
  • Keep the message short and sweet, and 
  • Proofread before you send.

A thank you email should contain the following elements:

  1. Subject line — It can be as simple as a ‘Thank you’ followed by your name or the reason for thanking them.
  2. Salutation — Depending on your relationship with the recipient, you can start with a “Dear”, “Good morning”, or “Greetings” for a more formal connection, or “Hi” for closer collaborators.
  3. Gratitude — This is where you give your thanks to the recipient. The gratitude part should contain your thanks and be followed by the reason for the thanks.
  4. Connection reinforcement — This part is optional. It serves to let them know that you want to do something for them in return or just take them out for a coffee.
  5. Closing paragraph — In the closing part, you basically restate how grateful you are to the person.
  6. Exit — Use any of the standard closing phrases here, e.g. “Sincerely”, “Best regards”, or even “Appreciatively”.

When you get a hold of these elements, you can use them to formulate any type of thank-you email, whether you’re thanking a colleague for their support or a job interviewer for their time.

🔸 A professional thank-you email sample

Hi Mark,

I just wanted to thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with you on the Daytona project. It was a pleasure to collaborate with your amazing team. I learned so much from you all, and I will carry that knowledge over to my independent projects.

If there is anything I can do for you in the future, do not hesitate to reach out.

I am forever indebted to you for allowing me this experience.

With appreciation,

Rita Smith

You can get a professional thank-you email template here and tailor it to your specific needs:

Professional thank-you email template

Professional thank-you email

💡 Pumble Pro Tip

Pumble is a great alternative to email when expressing gratitude to your coworkers — no need for elaborate structure, you can go straight to the point (as shown in all the screenshots above). Learn more about why email is probably not the best means of remote communication:

Wrapping up: Adopt an attitude of gratitude

As you can see, there are many proven benefits of showing appreciation in a professional setting.

While people are often afraid of giving thanks in their business environment, there’s no reason for fear if your attitude of gratitude is genuine.

So follow our tips to perfect your professional thanks-giving skills and feel free to use the example phrases and a professional thank-you email template we’ve provided in this blog post.

Andjela Vidojevic is a writer specialized in team communication and collaboration with a focus on the remote work experience. She’s a remote worker herself, so while writing, she relies heavily on her own experience as well as on extensive research, which she dives into with great gusto.

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