A Note of Thanks
By Jeri Mae Rowley, M.S.
Should I write a thank-you note? The answer is usually “yes.”
This November, commemorate Thanksgiving with a handwritten thank-you note-one of the most thoughtful and relationship enriching of traditions. The thank-you note communicates appreciation, acknowledges the efforts of another person, and expresses sincere gratitude. According to Emily Post, “When asked if a thank-you note should be written, the answer is usually ‘yes.’”
If you’re unsure how to write a thank-you note, read on.
How to Write a Thank-You Note
Both business and personal thank you notes should include the same basic elements: Greeting, Gratitude, Connection, Appreciation, and Good Bye.
The grand master of relationships, Dale Carnegie, advocated using a person’s name in conversation and correspondence. Greet the person you are thanking by name.
Business Example: Dear [Name of person]:
Personal Example: "Dear" may seem too formal. If you know the person well, use "Hi, John:" or “Hello, Sarah:” Or, simply begin with their first name, followed by a colon (:).
Choose a salutation appropriate to your relationship with the giver. Seniors may desire more formal salutation. For example, a note to my grandmother would begin “Dear Mrs. Brown:” if you wrote it. A note to my grandmother would begin: “Mimi:” if I wrote it.
2. GRATITUDE & APPLICATION
Express your gratitude. Then describe how you use or plan to use, their gift … the application. What do you like about it? How will you use, or benefit from, the giver’s generosity?
Business Example: “Thank you for speaking to our association. We deeply appreciated your willingness to share the top three marketing tips with our members. I especially enjoyed learning about your family’s business. I’ve already put two of your ideas to use promoting our new services.”
Personal Example: “The warm gloves are a perfect gift for a long Montana winter. I’m using them each morning to drive to work and am reminded of your thoughtfulness.”
The gratitude and application paragraph(s) of the thank-you note are where we express how much we value the giver’s generosity and why. It’s a great place to personalize the thanks.
The connection paragraph establishes why you value the giver. It can highlight your past together or acknowledge something personal/special to that individual. Describe your connection with the giver. What’s your relationship? What is your past together? What do you hope for your future together?
Business Example: It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since we met at the National Convention in Orlando. I’m so glad we’ve been able to stay in touch over the years.
Personal Example: I look forward to spending time with you and the kids this summer in Montana. Our reunions are the highlight of my year.
“Thank you again for …” It's not overkill to say thanks again. So say it.
Like the salutation, your sign-off is based on the nature of your relationship with the giver — and who the giver is (status in organization, their generation, how long you’ve known them, and so on.)
“Sincerely,” “With Sincere Appreciation,” or your personal business sign-off. I sign my business correspondence “Laugh and learn.”
Personal Example "Love" is fine for family members and close friends. For others, some choices are "Yours Truly," "Regards," "Warm Regards," or “With love.”
When you sign your name, make the autograph neat enough to read easily — so it’s clear the message is coming from you.
Gratitude is Good for You
Being thankful has proven to have a positive impact on your well-being. A recent Wall Street Journal article cited research indicating that adults who feel grateful have "more energy, more optimism, more social connections and more happiness than those who do not ...."
Take time to express your gratitude with a thank-you note. Get it in the mail and become an active participant in the act of expressing your thanks with a handwritten note.
Is it time for you to send a thank-you note? The answer is definitely “yes.”
Jeri Mae Rowley, MS Human Resource Management This saddle maker’s daughter delights audiences with her unique brand of Western Wit and Wisdom for Your Workplace.™ Please visit her website: www.jerimaerowley.com and learn more about her growing menu of speaking and training products.
Business Occasions That Merit Handwritten Thank-You Notes
- When a customer has referred you to another.
- When a competitor has referred you to a customer.
- After receiving a promotion or payraise.
- After a business lunch, dinner or party.
- When your employee took special initiative.
- After your boss has invested in you: training, resources, membership in professional associations, for example.
- When a co-worker went the extra mile to help you.
- When an acquaintance has given you time and advice.
- When a manager, or professor, has supplied you with a reference letter.
- To co-workers who’ve given you a gift (this may fall into the “personal” category, depending on how well you know your colleagues).
- After attending a job interview. (Send an email as well, expressing your gratitude for the opportunity and your interest in the position. Emails are becoming more acceptable after job interviews due to their speed. Send both.)
Top 10 Thank-You Note DON’Ts:
- Don’t delay. (Keep stationery for thank-you notes on hand.)
- It's never too late to say “thank you.” Don't not send a note because it’s been “too long.”
- Don't talk about yourself. This note is about the giver and the gift.
- Don't write anything negative, even as a joke.
- Don't name the dollar amount. Say "Thank you for the generous gift." (Exception: Charitable donations where the exact amount is needed for business purposes.)
- Don't print out thank you notes on your computer. Handwrite them whenever possible. Email is appropriate for a more casual thank you.
- Don't be generic with your job interview thank you notes. Use the note to express your unique self. Do check your spelling.
- Don’t lie. Focus on what you are thankful for and honestly do appreciate.
- Don’t have recipients write their own addresses on envelopes.
10. Don't use pre-printed or fill-in-the-blank thank-you cards. Ever! Ever!
Adapted from: http://www.thank-you-note-samples.com