Everyone loves to a be appreciated from time to time. Thus, the value and importance of a well- meaning, hand written “thank you” note. In the digital age that we live in, it is so easy to send a text or an email telling a friend thank you for a birthday gift, or to thank a host for a lovely dinner, but there is something to be said for the hand written note. One, we rarely get personal mail anymore. Secondly, writing a note forces the writer to really think about what they are going to say, making the sentiments more personal to the receiver.
Margaret Sheppard, in her book The Art of the Handwritten Note A Guide to Reclaiming Civilized Communications says: A thank you note “should recapture that smile and handshake, or hug you would give the giver in person, and offer it in a form that can be read and reread.” A hefty challenge for sure.
So how do you craft, a personal, hand written note? A proper hand written note generally contains four key elements. It should be generous, specific, personal and prompt.
This may be the most intuitive and perhaps the easiest part of a well written thank-you note. If you are thanking a person for a gift, include a message of gratitude about the gift. (Even if you don’t like it). Say “thank you” for the gift given so that the message is personal to the recipient. Likewise if you are thanking a person for a meal or for taking the time to meet you.
“Thank you for remembering me on my birthday.”
“Thank you so much for your time at the event last week.”
It is always kind to be specific about the gift given. (Just make sure that you are thanking the right person for the right gift). For example, if someone give you a blue sweater, you might say:
“Thank you so much for remembering me on my birthday! I loved the blue sweater that you gave to me. It will be perfect for our trip to New York in a few weeks.”
If you are thanking someone for their time or service you might say something like this:
“Thank you so much for your time at the event last week. I appreciate you volunteering your time and energy. I know that setting up it not always glamorous, but because of your hard work we raised over $15,000 for Juvenile Diabetes.
People like to know that they are valued and that you appreciate them. Don’t be afraid to “get personal” and let people know exactly how you are going to use/enjoy a gift. If it is a gift of service, let them know they played a vital role.
“Thank you so much for remembering me on my birthday! I loved the blue sweater that you gave to me. It will be perfect for our trip to New York in a few weeks. Every time I wear your beautiful sweater I will think about our fun girls night out. Thank you for being such an amazing friend.”
“Thank you so much for your time at the event last week. I appreciate you volunteering your time and energy. I know that setting up it not always glamorous, but because of your hard work we raised over $15,000 for Juvenile Diabetes. I love your “can do” attitude and I look forward to working with you in the future. Your commitment helped us to make a difference!”
Timeliness is important in thank you note writing. Try to send the note as soon after the event as possible. If a week or two has passed, still send the note for a late thank you is better than none at all.
Following this simple formula, can help you too to become an expert note writer. Remember people truly love to feel appreciate so with just a few moments of time, you can make them feel loved.