I Would LIKE to Thank You, But…
by Tamara Martfeld
I had a wonderful professor for Business English in college. He pointed out the verbose statements used in many business letters as well as the ones which really made no sense and then gave alternative language which was significantly better. My favorite, and the one with which I have had the most fun, is the phrase, “I would like to thank you for X.”
As he pointed out, if you would like to thank the person, why not just do it? This phrase also applies to similar language such as, “I want to tell you how much I love you”, “I would like to invite you to X”, and “I want to tell you how much I appreciate what you did to help”. The list goes on.
When you catch yourself using these and similar phrases, change them. Instead of “I would like to thank you for X,” say, “I thank you for X.” Instead of “I want to tell you how much I love you”, say, “I love you very much”. Instead of “I would like to invite you to X”, say, “I invite you to X”, or “Please come to X”. Instead of “I want to tell you how much I appreciate what you did to help,” say, “I appreciate your help on X.” In each case the new statement is more positive and has greater meaning to the recipient.
Valentine’s day is around the corner. This would be a good time to practice saying “I love you” where it applies in your life.
How has this been a fun phrase for me? I love to listen to awards shows and ceremonies where the individuals say. “I’d like to thank…”. To me they are saying “I’d like to thank so-and-so for such-and-such, but I really can’t bring myself to do it”. A program such as the Oscars is the most fun. I get a good laugh at the insincerity of the phrase and truly appreciate those who say “I thank so-and so”.
As you might see from the “I love you” example, the change in language does not just apply to business. When you change you language to eliminate “I would like to” or “I’d like to” when expressing thanks, love, appreciation, etc., you may be seen as a person who truly appreciates those around you. This has the potential to help you improve your relationships in all aspects of your life. In any case, it will make you a better communicator.