Posted on: January 1st, 2018 by Jen Mueller

It’s my yearly exercise in gratitude. And sometimes it gets a chuckle from skeptics.

Why would I bother writing thank you notes to multi-million dollar athletes?

Because saying thank you is important. People matter and relationships count.

Football is a business, but I don’t talk to a “business” after a game. I don’t ask for interviews from a “business.”

I talk to people and I ask human beings for interviews.

Here are a few things you should know about the thank you notes I write to multi-million dollar athletes.

  1. They don’t have to talk to me – but they do. The NFL requires that players are made available to the media. Being available to talk and being willing to talk are two different things. It’s not easy to field questions about a bad day at work or a disappointing game, and yet the guys I work with answer my questions win or lose.
  2. People matter. The notes aren’t about their season stats or contributions on the field. Instead, I specifically call out how they’ve made my job easier or more enjoyable, just by being themselves.
  3. Relationships are important. Being a (good) sideline reporter requires more than football knowledge. There’s a level of trust and respect needed from the players and coaches to be effective. Thank you notes express my gratitude for the trust they’ve placed in me. The notes also ensure the last interaction with me for the year is a positive one that they can take into next season.

As a result of the relationships I develop inside an NFL locker room, I know the guys have my back, I’ll get the answers I need in a timely fashion, and they’ll be gracious even during difficult conversations (or interviews).

It doesn’t matter if you’re working with multi-million dollar athletes, highly successful corporate professionals, difference-making teachers or recent college graduates. Thank you notes work.

Relationships count and people matter.

Don’t let the business side of business overshadow the importance of the people you work with. Show gratitude to your colleagues. Click To TweetTell ‘em they matter. Place importance on fostering good relationships. It’s part of what an Influential Conversationalist does.

Jen Mueller is a rock star keynote presenter and sports broadcaster. An entire career spent in sports locker rooms gives her unique perspective on leadership and business communication skills and is the basis for her latest book The Influential Conversationalist available on Amazon.