More and more often these days the response I receive when I say “thank you” to someone is, “No problem.”
In our workshops, one of the writing tips we present is “Accentuate the Positive”. Within this we highlight that often times a statement will leave a negative impression.
A favorite example is a statement made repeatedly by a certain world leader (who shall remain nameless but you’ll know right away who I mean) as he attempted to defend himself. Each time he was confronted he would reply with, “I did not have relations with that woman.” As we point out, what the listener is likely to remember from such a statement is “relations, woman” or exactly the opposite of what this person hoped might be remembered.
I think the same holds true with the, in my opinion all too common these days, response “not a problem”. What I’m left with here is “problem”. I immediately think, with some resentment/sarcasm (if thinking can be said to be sarcastic), “Glad to know my purchase didn’t cause you any problem.”
I much prefer and will continue to use the positive version and reply with, “my pleasure” to a “thank you” from someone**
*This is also referred to as “Pink Elephants”. The reader is likely to remember the one thing you’re hoping they won’t. An example of this is having someone tell you not to think about a pink elephant (usually describing in detail the elephant you shouldn’t be thinking about! You know, big, trunk, PINK, big ears, wrinkled, did I mention PINK?) Go ahead. See if you can not think about this pink elephant. I think you’ll find once the idea is put in your head, its likely the only thing you can think about, no matter how hard you trey not to think about it.
**And for those of you who might ask, “Now what does this have to do with proposals?” Well, besides the obvious piece that relates to the content you develop, what was your response the last time someone thanked you for doing a great job on a proposal?