Thank You Notes: A Guide For The Successful Person

thank you

Thank You!

I was listening to my top rated playlist recently and Joe Walsh’s I’m An Analog Man came on. This song reminded me that everything has gotten so digital that we have forgotten how to employ the tried-and-true methods of marketing, PR and just good human behavior. The most neglected, in my opinion, is the thank you note.

I’m not talking about thanking someone via email. I am talking about a real, hold-in-your-hand handwritten note that is actually sent via the US Mail. Oh, and send it promptly after the event occurred.

As you know, I’m a big believer in gratitude. Everyone should embrace this virtue. One of the best ways is to look for new things that make you grateful. Once you find them, write them down. There is something about the physical act of handwriting something that helps you internalize it. The thank you note provides an excellent medium for this.

As my marketing mentor once told me, when everyone else is zigging, you should zag. Today, this means going analog to stand out from the digiterati. Are you sending out handwritten notes to customers to stand out from your competition?

It takes five minutes to write a short note to a client, but the effect on your relationship is beyond measure. Receiving a thank you note makes you feel special, even though we all know that it takes only five minutes to write.

But if you take that little bit of time to focus on someone, they are flattered. This simple gesture places you a step above your competitors because I can assure you most of them are not writing thank you notes.

Not only does this tactic engender good will, build some buzz and deepen relationships, it can help you promulgate your brand if you use customized cards.

Thank You Notes: The Finer Points

But let’s not limit our thank you notes to just customers. Let’s go broad! You can write thank you notes for gifts, for receiving assistance, for hospitality and for any number of professional reasons. So, when – specifically – should you write a thank you note? Let’s go to the Art of Manliness for some advice,

When to Write a Thank You Note

  • When you receive a gift (especially if the gift is from your Italian grandma — if you don’t write a thank you note, she’ll put the moloch on you).

  • When someone performs an act of service for you.

  • When someone goes above and beyond what is asked of them, whether at work or in a friendship.

  • After a job interview.

  • When you stay overnight at someone’s home.

  • If someone shows you around their town or city when you’re vacationing there, regardless of whether you stayed at their home or not.

  • When someone has you over for dinner.

  • When someone throws a party or event for you.

  • Anytime someone does something extraordinary that warms your heart. Don’t be stingy with the thank you note. There’s never a wrong time to write one.

How Do I Write A Thank You Note?

You are probably wondering, “how do I write a thank you note.” Not to worry. I’ve got you covered. Or, more correctly, the true expert on the topic, Hallmark, has the answer.

1. Greeting. Don’t forget to make sure you’re using the correct form and spelling of the person’s name, as well as anyone else’s mentioned in the note.

  • Dear Aunt Sharon and Uncle Bob,

2. Express your thanks. Begin with the two most important words: Thank you.

  • Thank you so much for…
  • It made my day when I opened…
  • I’m so grateful you were there when

3. Add specific details. If it is for a gift, tell them how you plan to use or display it. It shows them that you really appreciate the thought that went into it. Even if it’s cold hard cash, describe how you’ll spend the stuff.

  • Here’s a picture of me with my new briefcase. I look so professional!
  • I can’t wait to use the birthday money you sent to decorate my dorm room.
  • The going-away party meant so much to me. Having all my friends and family in one place was something I’ll never forget.

4. Look ahead. Mention the next time you might see them, or just let them know you’re thinking of them.

  • We look forward to seeing you next month at Lucy’s party.

5. Restate your thanks. Add details to thank them in a different way.

  • Again, thank you for your generosity. I’m so excited about college. I’ll let you know all about it when I get settled.
  • We felt so blessed that you made the trip to be with us on our wedding day. We can’t wait to see you again soon!

6. End with your regards. “Sincerely” is a safe standby, but for closer relationships, you might choose a warmer option.

  • With love,
  • Many thanks,
  • Yours truly,

So, my advice to you is go analog, man. You’ll thank me later. Maybe, you’ll even send me a thank you note. Handwritten. By mail.

About the author

Harry Hoover

Harry is an author, writer-for-hire, speaker, and publisher of You, Improved. He has written three books: Get Glad - Your Practical Guide To A Happier Life, Born Creative: Free Your Mind, Free Yourself, and Moving to Charlotte: The Un-Tourist Guide.

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