The Art of a Thank You Note
In today’s society that thrives on technology, a hand-written thank you note has become a rarity. We survive on emails, text messages, and social media. Physical mailboxes seem to only receive advertisements or bills. Taking the time and effort to write and mail a brief note is a gift in and of itself. Please note that I stressed hand-written – not a phone call or email. Don’t worry if your handwriting isn’t perfect. This is a case where it’s the thought that counts.
While there are the standard times to send a thank you note, like after receiving a present, there are several other occasions with non-tangible gifts that call for one. A hand-written thank you note is a way to make you stand apart as a person with grace and sophistication. Any occasion that someone offers their advice, expertise, or connections deserves a genuine thank you. In our days of lightning fast communications and real-time media, a person’s time is one of the most precious gifts you can receive.
There are several blog posts and etiquette advice for thank you notes for weddings or similar events. One was recently written here by my friend Heather Long of Simply Designed Invites. I am taking a different approach to focus on thank you notes for business.
Business reasons to write a Thank You Note:
After a job interview – For an extra touch, drop this off in-person and include one for the receptionist or office manager that welcomed you. This is a great way to make a lasting impression.
After an initial client meeting – Thanking a prospective client for their time is the perfect follow-up touch.
Any time you received a referral – Remember that a personal referral will generate a more loyal clientele.
If you receive an introduction – Business is built on connections that should be valued and nurtured.
Someone lends you their expertise and advice – In general, if you have taken someone’s time and energy, they should receive a thank you note.
How to write a Thank You Note
I like to keep thank you notes slightly informal. I address them as “Dear” followed by however I would introduce them to another person. This could be their first name or with Mr/Ms.
Invest in branded or nicer stationery and a quality-writing instrument. This should reflect your brand and goals. Personally, I love beautiful cards and write with a calligraphy set.
Keep it short – You aren’t writing a thesis. Using a smaller flat card can also help keep it brief. Generally I write about three sentences
Thank the person including how it positively effected you or your business
Add a personal touch that you learned through your meeting
Look to the future such as your hope to see them again and reiterate your thanks.
Remember to mail within a couple days. A prompt thank you note shows your sincerity.
All in all, hand-writing Thank You Notes should be a regular part of your business routine. The brief investment of time and energy to write a considerate and meaningful Thank You Note will help you foster new connections, strengthen existing relationships, and demonstrate your thoughtfulness.