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'Verbal affirmation' and 'acts of return' as two modes of showing gratitude according to OpenIDEO Toronto members

Results of a gratitude survey within the OpenIDEO Toronto Chapter

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'Gratitude' is a word thrown around frequently these days, so much so that at times we cannot be sure we use it with the same meaning in mind. In assessing how people generally approach the practice of gratitude, I've surveyed the members of the Toronto OpenIDEO chapter with the following question: "The last time I showed my appreciation was______. I did it by_______." The below is based on eight detailed accounts of gratitude shared generously by the members of our chapter over the last few weeks.

It turns out that the two most common modes to show appreciation are either verbal affirmation or through acts of return. Some examples include:

- Going the extra mile show appreciation for an opportunity or for someone taking on your workload 
- Treating the person to a gift or experience and drinks are ancient ways of gathering and sharing something together
- Words of affirmation ...a genuine thank you, grounded in a PERSONAL message about the individual, delivered publically or in a special way

I want to thank those who paused, reflected and participated in this survey, for their time and brain space generosity.

What is a provocation or insight that might inspire others during this challenge?

We tend to deliver our appreciation in a way WE deem is appropriate (for us and for the recipient). Pattern matching the mode of delivery to the recipient's preferences may ensure that our intent and message of gratitude resonates the most (ex. if a recipient prefers the feedback privately instead of publically, find a private delivery mode). Pausing and reflecting on the general tendencies of your recipient may need to be a step considered during this challenge.

Tell us about yourself

I'm a strategist and a consultant with experience in design and healthcare. This research was influenced by my curiosity in how members of my city's OpenIDEO chapter already express gratitude in their daily lives and whether parallels can be extrapolated to a workplace setting.


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