I just got back from the annual educational conference hosted by the Mechanical Service Contractors of America (MSCA). This year it was held in beautiful, mountain-surrounded Colorado Springs. By the time I left, I felt overwhelmed by all the new ideas and information that were presented there.

Seriously, MSCA really stacks the deck of its speakers. It seemed that every single presenter had literally written the book (or two or three) on his area of business expertise. I came away thinking that MSCA should include a label on all of its brochures about the conference. You know, something along the lines of “Warning: Brain may explode if you attend all seminars available at this event, pay close attention to speakers, and attempt to implement all you’ve learned.”

So, anyway, let me share one thing with you that I learned that I’m really hoping to be able to implement, both professionally and personally. The keynote speaker, Chester Elton, has been called the “apostle of appreciation” for his research, writing, and presentations on how much recognition matters to people.

As someone who gets quite resentful when I’m not thanked and appreciated as much as I think I should be, Elton didn’t have to do much to convince me. But he went on to explain the right way to recognize people. Recognition must be “frequent, specific, and timely,” he said.

So if you want to make your employees feel appreciated and enjoy coming to work, you should recognize them. And you should recognize them frequently, specifically, and in a timely manner. Frequent is obviously more than once a year. Specific means that just saying “good job” isn’t enough. Timely means you can’t wait and eventually get around to it.

So give it a shot. Recognize your best people now by telling them exactly what they’ve done well. (P.S. This also applies to personal relationships. When my husband gets home, I’m going to tell him how grateful I am that he did the grocery shopping today.)