The Butler Is In: Don't forget to say thank you

Our etiquette expert says to say it, write it, mean it: Thank you is a powerful way to use your good manners.

It's not just polite; saying thank you is one of the best ways to forge strong relationships

It's never too early to start saying thank you for all that people do for you. (CBC)

The Butler is in. CBC P.E.I. has launched a summer series featuring certified protocol and etiquette consultant John Robertson, who will guide us through how to do things the right way.

Robertson spends his summers in Murray Harbour, and is a professionally-trained English butler.

This week, Robertson has some advice about those powerful words, thank and you.

They can mean a lot, and even in these hectic times, it's important to find the time to express thanks, or as he likes to say, an "attitude of gratitude."

1. Successful people says thanks

In his career as a butler, Robertson has been able to observe many successful people, and says they all know the value of offering thanks. "They say thank you often. They say thank you like they mean it. To them, expressing thanks is not a duty to be avoided or shirked, it's an opportunity."

2. Thank you notes are still important

John Robertson advises that saying thank you is easy, cheap and very effective. (Jesara Sinclair/CBC)
Especially for wedding gifts, and no you don't have a year to send out the notes. "Why would a bride and a groom want to put it off? Whether it was 40 people or 400, the guests at your wedding were your closest friends and loved ones, they were there at your invitation, they just shared what is probably the most important day of your life to date, and they went to considerable expense to attend and send you a gift. Why are you hesitating or delaying in telling them how much it meant to you that they were there on your special day? 'And by the way, thanks for the toaster.'"

3. Write a real letter

An email or social media post just won't do, even in these electronic times. "The larger and more important the gift or occasion, an actual, real, hand-written letter is still the way to make your mark, to establish your personal brand. An email says well, maybe you don't care maybe much."

4. Unexpected thank you's are the best

"The effect on the recipient can be overwhelming, especially unexpected thank you's. Thank you for your time, thank you for your advice, your support, your understanding. It doesn't have to be something material. (There's) very little you can do in business that takes so little time, so little effort and so little expense with such huge upside in return."

5. Encourage the kids

Get your young folks to learn the thank you habit early. Grandparents are the most obvious people who deserve their thanks, for gifts, outings, and love. So find a way to get the kids to show that appreciation. "In their own way, they can say thank you. Drawing a picture of themselves with the gift. Parents can certainly get this in an envelope and put a stamp on it. Or send an email. Or take a selfie with a gift and send a text to Gram."

6. Face-to-face is the best

"Whenever it occurs to you, take the opportunity to say thank you. As a butler, I've had a head of state come find me in my office to say thank you to my face. He said he understood how his visit had caused general chaos to the household, and to thank me for everything we did for him and his team."

Best of all, Robertson advised, anyone can say thanks, and start doing it right away.

With files from Island Morning