Showing thankfulness to business partners, especially subject matter experts (SMEs), is an important part of being a training professional. The more training leaders show their appreciation, the better their relationships with their SMEs and other business partners will be. Showing gratitude in even a small way can pave the path to a great working relationship and build a bond with business partners.

It doesn’t take a lot for training professionals to show a little appreciation, and even in a challenging relationship, there is something you can be thankful for. There are five main categories where you can show appreciation to your business partners.

1. Thanks for Data and Information

Training professionals are often given stacks of information or PowerPoint decks full of data and information to use to develop training, coaching checklists or other materials to help learners become proficient at their jobs. Without these materials, training professionals wouldn’t have the background and information they need to begin to build the content.

2. Thanks for Answering Questions

The data and information business partners provide often leads training professionals to ask a lot of questions. Even with a busy schedule, SMEs and other business partners are usually available to answer their questions. Questions are one of the ways training professionals find out about the needs of the organization and the learners so they can determine whether the type of business intervention needed is training or something else. It is a great benefit to training professionals to have access to these people whenever they need it.

3. Thanks for Access to Learners

In addition to data and information, training professionals need access to learners while they are building content to help them determine how best to present the content and understand how learners will use the content. Business partners generally provide a list of learners or types of learners that the training professional can talk with and observe. Training professionals wouldn’t be able to build effective content without this access.

4. Thanks for Connections to Other Parts of the Business

Frequently, these data, information and learners lead to questions that only other parts of the business can answer. Training professionals often do not have a relationship with other parts of the organization or the owners of the information they need, but the SME or another business partner does. They can provide connections and either obtain what the training professional needs or give them access to the people who can give them the information they need. They can also help interpret that information.

5. Thanks for Reviewing

SMEs and other business partners are heavily invested in the training you propose and develop. They generally review the content, provide feedback, and approve and advocate for the program to others.

Business partners and SMEs give their time and share their knowledge. Their time is a gift when they have so many people and responsibilities needing their attention. It’s important for us, as training professionals, to build in time to thank the people we work with, the people who help us do our jobs and the people who give us access to other leaders in the organization. To SMEs out there everywhere, thank you for your time and knowledge. We couldn’t manage training without you.