In order to add an element of fun to a recent staff gathering, a team leader hid a prize envelope under the chair of one of the attendees. In the middle of the meeting, the attendee in that seat found out he’d won treats for his department, delivered courtesy of the team lead. No specifics had been promised, and the plan was to figure it out after the meeting (you know how many logistics go into a big meeting leading up to it – sometimes you’ve got to punt what you can).
In a discussion afterwards about what sorts of treats would be appropriate, several ideas were tossed around. Custom logo cookies. Cupcakes from a local bakery. Make your own ice cream sundae bar (and yes, I really just wanted a giant cupcake for most of the conversation). The next morning, the team lead asked a couple of us if we thought it would be too hokey if she baked cookies for the team instead of anything we’d talked about. It was a GREAT idea. What a very cool, personal touch. Who doesn’t love the childhood nostalgia of homemade chocolate chip cookies? And what a fun way to not only add an element of surprise to the meeting itself, but follow up afterwards with not just the treat, but the important message of making the time to do something with such a personal feel.
I think we so often want to do something to let people know we’re thinking of them or that we value them, but we get caught up in thinking we have to do the one right thing, get the best gift or spend the appropriate amount of money. And before we know it, we’ve become too paralyzed and done nothing. I think most often it’s the little things that mean the most – a handwritten thank you note, inviting someone out for a cup of coffee and conversation, or, of course, a baked good. What can you put your own personal touch on to let someone know you appreciate them?