25 Great Responses to Graciously Receive Gifts

pile of gifts

If you read my blog post earlier this week, 5 Things Never to Say When Receiving a Gift, you may have discovered you are not the best at accepting presents or expressing genuine gratitude. Maybe you struggle with finding the right words, or feel self-conscious. Or just don’t know the way to say it and express what you feel. No worries.

Now that you’re aware of how you come across, you can respond differently and be a gracious receiver.  People will love you for it, and you will enjoy gift exchanges much more yourself. Who knows, you might even find yourself the recipient of more gifts!

To begin, let’s go review those “Five Things Never to Say…” and offer better alternatives:

  1. Instead of “Can I open this later?” how about something more positive and engaging like, “Oh thanks! I’d love to open this now!Now your gift giver knows that you’re excited to be getting a gift and don’t’ want to wait to open it. What a great feeling they get, knowing you are excited! It’s a gift giver’s dream.
  2. Instead of “Do I have to open this now?”  Say “Can I open this now?  I’m just too excited to wait.” Think about it…if they hand you the gift now, it’s because they want you to open it now. Otherwise they would have waited. Generally, people hand you their gift when they want you to open it. Don’t disappoint. Let them enjoy the giving and witness your response.
  3. Instead of saying, “Thanks. I have one of these,” simply be gracious and receive it well saying, Thanks so much! This is a great gift.”
  4. If and only if, the gift is expensive and you have it already, your response will be a little more challenging to be honest. Consider saying something like, “Wow, I love this. I can’t believe how well you know my taste! I do have this item though. Do you think we can decide together on something to exchange it for?”
  5. Time after time I hear people (mostly women) lament, apologize, and fuss over the fact that they didn’t buy a gift as well. PLEASE, if this is you, eliminate this response from your repertoire. Take a breath and slip into the role of gracious receiver. Simply say, “Thank you so much for thinking of me! What a nice surprise!”

….and now twenty more choices to be a pleasant, gracious receiver this Holiday:

6.    “Thank you very much. This is something I’d never have splurged on.”

7.     “How did you know? …..I’ve been wanting a _________________.”

8.     “I love this. It’s so unique.”

9.     “What a great gift! Many thanks.”

10.   “I appreciate your kindness.”

11.   “That was very sweet!” (or kind, or generous or thoughtful)

12.   “What a fantastic gift! Thanks so much!”

13.   “I LOVE presents. Can I open this right now?”

14.   “This is really touching. Thank you.”

15.   “I’ve always wanted to have a _______________.”

16.   “I love handmade gifts. They have such meaning. Thank you.”

17.   “Thank you for thinking of me.”

18.   “Wow! You really know my taste. I love this.”

19.   “This is a perfect gift choice for me.  Thank you!”

20.   “I so appreciate your thoughtfulness.”

21.   “Thanks so very much. This is wonderful!”

22.   “I’m delighted. Thank you.”

23.   “Thank you so much. I will treasure this gift.”

24.   “How kind of you to buy me a gift.”

25.   “What a wonderful surprise! Thanks for thinking about me.”

It’s not too late to be a wonderful receiver of gifts, acts of service, or hospitality this Holiday season. Simply try these responses and allow yourself to be a bit more open.

Regardless of the way you say it this Holiday and whether you find the right words, don’t be a Grinch!  Enjoy and let the gratitude in your heart come through to those who love you enough to purchase a gift they chose especially for you.

How-the-Grinch-Stole-Christmas

THANK YOU for following my blog! That is a great gift to me!

Happiest of Holidays!

 See you after the New Year with more of the way to say it.

The-Way-to-Say-It Conversation

The Way to Say It is not just about finding the right words. The Way to Say It is a kind of conversation that steps into rather than shies away from difficult, challenging and uncomfortable topics. It is a mindset that says, “Let’s resolve this,” rather than “Let’s ignore it.”

It’s a belief that honest, direct conversation is more productive than beat-around-the-bush conversation. The Way to Say It is about continuing to improve our communication skills whether we are at home, at work, in a group or with one individual, young or old, self-employed or in the corporate world.talk

The Way to Say It is ALWAYS:

  • Honest and authentic
  • Direct and clear
  • Free of blame and attack
  • Without judgment
  • Intent on creating understanding and resolution
  • Free of sarcasm
  • Personally responsible
  • Able to say what needs to be said (not just what’s comfortable)
  • Willing to listen as well as speak
  • Calm and neutral
  • Free of manipulation
  • Brave and bold

I’m totally committed to this type of conversation whatever the topic. It’s an ongoing process…finding the right words, the right tone, the right approach to make all conversations bridges rather than dividers.

What topics do you find difficult in conversation? What communication challenge do you have questions about? I invite you to share, ask, speak, and follow me on this blog as we explore The Way to Say It  as a way of life.

 

5 Great Responses to Inappropriate Questions

Being a lover of cats I couldn’t resist opening the post from Dan at Leadership Freak today. It was titled, The Pussy Cat Problem.  I couldn’t imagine the content, but Dan is known for his short and sweet, extremely powerful words of wisdom. Today was no exception. All ten points in the post were spot on in helping leaders be more approachable and connected, but I especially love this recommendation:

Learn how to handle inappropriate topics,” such as saying, “Thanks for bringing that up but I can’t deal with that in public.”

 As a leader, your “charges” will sometimes bring you inappropriate information, or ask totally awkward questions in a public setting.

They see you as the person in the know, the person with the solution. And that is not something you want to discourage. Your success is related to how accessible and connected you are with your team.

You WANT to know what’s on their minds. You WANT them to feel they can ask you anything or bring you information.  The wrong response, or worse yet, no response, to their question will simply shut them down.

Knowing some appropriate responses before a situation arises makes it easier to respond on the spot.

Knowing some appropriate responses before a situation arises makes it easier to respond on the spot.

The worst responses to an inappropriate question are these:

  1. No response at all. That leaves the person who spoke up confused. With no response they have no idea what to think and they will be sure to discuss your lack of response with their circles. Doesn’t add to your leadership presence.
  2. A flippant response. I hope I don’t really need to state that this is not the answer either. A flippant or sarcastic answer from a leader is heightened in intensity by the power and status of that leader. You can bet this person who stepped out on a limb and asked what was on their mind, will not do that again anytime soon.
  3. An on the spot response that is also inappropriate. If their question or info was truly inappropriate, than discussion of this topic in public only makes a bad situation worse.

A powerful confident leader can handle the inappropriate. It goes with the territory. As Dan’s response suggests, the ideal comment to a public conversation on a “behind-closed-doors-topic” hits these benchmarks:

  1. It’s free of tone, judgment or sarcasm
  2. It spares damage to the initiator’s pride
  3. It is neutral, direct and clear
  4. It confirms to the speaker they have been heard
  5. It lets them know their request will be addressed, but not here and not now

Having some ideas of the way to say it in advance help in being prepared. Here are some The Way to Say It Tips to use in these situations include:

  • “That’s a topic for an off-line conversation. Let’s set another time to talk about this.”
  •  “Now that is a most unusual request. Let me have my assistant meet with you on that.”
  • “Wow, I need to think about that one. Let me get back to you.”
  • “You know, I think we can do better speaking about that in a quieter environment.”

Generally, as long as the spokesperson has been heard and gotten a response that sets expectations, they are satisfied and refrain from continuing the conversation on the spot creating an even more awkward situation.

Your strength as a leader comes from being able to handle all types of challenges and situations. That should include tough conversations and inappropriate remarks.

Right Words to Start Tough Conversations

Getting started is not as hard as you think. Try these phrases.

Getting started is not as hard as you think. Try these phrases.

The most difficult thing about difficult conversations is the first step. Opening your mouth to get the right words out. Starting off on the right foot. Being the one to broach whatever subject it is that’s uncomfortable.

But have you ever noticed —-once you start, things immediately get easier? Tension breaks.

With the first step behind us, the dread dissipates.  Just like public speaking, or a first time surfing, or trying some new challenge, the majority of anxiety arises in THINKING about it, not in the actual doing of it! Once we make that first move, utter those first words, something shifts. Suddenly things start to settle.

We can use that fact and some well worded introductions to help us get over the hump of our first step in a challenging conversation.  First, check out last week’s blog post, Six Steps to Initiating Difficult Conversations.

For conversation starters, try wording like this:

 “I’m angry about what happened yesterday.  I want to share my feelings and hear your perspective so we can clear the air.”

 “I think I made a mess of things in our recent meeting and I’m sorry.  I’d like to talk about it with you and see if we can’t regroup and get back on track.”

 “I’m very uncomfortable with some comments you made about the department. I’m hoping you can help me see things in a different light. Let’s talk this through.”

 “Let me tell you how things appeared to me when you said you weren’t interested in working with the new employee. Then I’d like to hear what your thoughts and reservations are.”

 “It’s important to me that we retain our good working relationship, so I want to share my concerns about our work project. I’m not happy with the way you have communicated with me on this, and I think we can do better. Let me tell you my issues and then let’s talk about what is making it difficult from your end.”

 “For me, it’s unacceptable to repeatedly not get a response from your office when I leave a phone message. I value our business relationship and I want a better level of service so we can continue working together.”  

 

To Learn Their Point of View, Ask Curious Questions

After delivering your succinct, clear, direct message, turn the tables. Keep the conversation going and on track.  Ask curious questions to give your listener the opportunity to share their thinking, feelings and assumptions. The goal is to understand both sides of the issue, not just yours.

Some phrases that will help you accomplish this sound like this:

“Can you explain your thought process so I understand where you are coming from?

 “Can you help me understand how you see things here?

 “Can you tell me what you were trying to accomplish so I understand your thinking?”

 Once you’ve asked the question, LISTEN. Yup, stop talking. Don’t defend. Simply listen.  It’s critical to give that respect and listen if your true intent is understanding and resolution. When they are done, there is time to clarify any issues that arise.

If You Mess Up

Difficult conversations are like life. Rarely are things perfect. Stepping into challenging conversations is honest, brave and forthright, AND sometimes messy. If you bumble something you say in one of these talks, do what you would do when writing. Edit!

Say something like,

 “What I just said isn’t quite right. Let me try that again. I want to get closer to what I’m trying to convey.”

 Wow, that was unclear. Let me try to reword that to make it more clear.”

 “Let me backtrack for a moment. What I mean is this…..”

And then try again. Simply start over with what you wanted to say, making an attempt to be more succinct and more clear. There is no rule in communications that says you can’t edit and reword what you say when it comes out less than perfectly.  In fact, the simple act of doing that often opens up communication. By being less than perfect, by being real, others often relax and we reach a better connection.

 

Make The Words Yours

Keep in mind whatever words you choose to say, you need to own.  In the beginning these direct conversations may feel awkward. You may feel unsure of how to word things. Over time it will get easier as your confidence grows and the discomfort becomes less disconcerting.  Till then, try to use these phrases above to get started. You may edit them a touch to make them yours, but refrain from going back to your old ways or you will get your old results.

As you try out these phrases, let me know how they worked for you.  If you come up with other great opening lines, I hope you’ll share them. I’d love to hear your experiences.