I’ve written a post about the importance of giving thanks in the past. What I failed to do was mention the importance of writing a thank you note the right way. Over the years, I’ve gotten a number of thank you notes. But you’d be amazed at how many of them actually do it right. While it may be the thought that counts, the thought has a lot more pull when it’s formulated in an eloquent way. Believe it or not I’ve gotten thank you cards with miss spellings, wrong information, and those that even forgot to say thank you! In my experience, an effective thank you note has several elements. They are as follows:
- Preferably handwritten – (A typed one can pass but it lacks that personal touch)
- No spelling or grammatical errors – (This one’s a no brainer, but oh so many seem to have missed the memo. And please by all means make sure the name is spelt correctly)
- Reference to what the receiver did for you – (If you want to the receiver to remember who you are, mention what he/she did for you. – i.e. shoveled my sidewalk, gave advice, edited my resume)
- Something actionable – (Make a call to action or a promise. – i.e. Let me know how that event goes or I’ll give you a call to let you know if it pays off.)
- A compliment or something personal about their lives – (Make a mental note about something in that person’s life and then mention it in the note. – i.e. By the way, you have lovely penmanship or Congrats for celebrating 11 years of marriage.)
- The actual thank you – (Yes, even though you took the time to write this personal note you still have to say the words.
No, you won’t be penalized if all of the above aren’t included in the note, but chances are you’ll have a better shot of getting what you want if you do; especially the part about the compliment. Who can resist following up with someone who gushed about their fabulous sense of style? Do yourself a favor And try to keep the news of your recent engagement or great book offer out of the card. Now is not the time to utilize your bragging rights. Remember, this is about the receiver!
The best thank you note I ever received told me how useful my advice was, promised to tell me if she reaps any benefits as a result of it, thanked me for spending valuable time helping her, and commended me for my giving spirit and various volunteer work. On top of that she even wrote it in a purple pen on a purple card. She obviously remembered my obsession with the color. Needless to say, I will definitely keeps her in mind for future opportunities calling her name!
So break out the pens take your best shot of showing gratitude and flattery all within a few sentences.