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Advice / Job Search / Networking

This Small Gesture Will Strengthen Your Relationships—Today

Have you ever gotten a totally random email, tweet, text, or other note from someone thanking you for your work or expressing admiration for what you do? Remember how good that made you feel? It not only boosted your mood, but it probably also boosted your impression of that person.

What if you could give that feeling to everyone who’s really made a difference to you? Can you imagine how much happier they’ll be—and how much stronger your relationships will become?

Well, here’s your chance. On Tuesday, March 8, as part of a campaign called “Random Tweets of Kindness,” you can spend all day sending kind words of thanks and encouragement to people who have impacted you, using the hashtag #RTOK to contribute to the community of positivity.

Lars Schmidt, founder of Amplify Talent, ran the campaign last year as sort of an experiment after he realized he was getting so busy with his work that he wasn’t taking time to step back and appreciate the people who had helped get him there. Moreover, our busy natures keep us from realizing the good we do to help others. “We tend to get so bogged down in our work sometimes we don’t realize our efforts are impacting others,” he explained to me when we chatted about the project. “Getting that unsolicited recognition of thanks made some people’s day. It certainly made mine to be able to share that.”

We’re totally on board with him here (and we’ve talked before about the power of gratitude in your career). Not only will participating in this exercise make you feel pretty good, it’s likely to improve your professional relationships—even if that’s not the intent. Schmidt shared some of the surprising side effects of last year’s tweets with me: “For people I was close with, it reinforced how I felt about them. For others, it let them know for the first time and help establish some new relationships.”

Ready to get started? First, come up with a list of all the people you really want to thank. These can be mentors or teachers who have helped you, bosses or colleagues who you wouldn’t survive without, contacts who helped you through a tough job search, people in your industry who inspire you: For many of us, the list really could go on and on. “There’s no way you can reach everyone who deserves it,” Schmidt says, “so just do your best to call the ones who’ve truly impacted you.” We think a list of 10-20 people is a reasonable place to start.

Then, start crafting your 140-character messages (and make sure to include the #RTOK hashtag!). What should you write? Well, that’s got to come from you. “Speak from the heart,” says Schmidt. “Random Tweets of Kindness is really about sharing some of your sincere feelings and gratitude toward someone who’s impacted you.” Think about how that person has been most meaningful in your life, and simply go from there.

If you’re worried about having to come up with kind messages in the middle of your workday, spend a bit of time now crafting them all, and then copy and paste them to send throughout the day, or use a scheduling tool like Buffer to get them all ready to go.

Maybe this exercise will improve your network, and maybe it won’t. But that’s not really the point. No matter what, everyone involved is bound to be a little happier.

Photo of hand giving git courtesy of Shutterstock.