Thank You Notes

By Jill Bremer, AICI CIP

The impact of a handwritten thank-you note is often overlooked in today’s “why-write-something-when-I-can-email-it” world. A note written promptly and sincerely is an important ritual of etiquette that is much more effective and appreciated than a phone call, email, or text. Yes, we have a lot of technology at our fingertips, but just because we can do that way doesn’t mean we should.

Most of our mail each day is filled with advertisements and bills. Handwritten notes and letters are a rarity, which makes them that much more meaningful to the recipient. When you write a note by hand, it shows the other person that you cared enough to pull out the stationery and choose your words without the conveniences of the grammar tool, spellchecker, and auto-fill! Written notes are also permanent, which means they’re often saved by the recipient and even shared with others.

A few years ago, I worried for weeks about what to get a special client for Christmas. This was someone I had worked with very closely for a number of years on many different projects. She is laden each holiday season with several dozen gifts – fruit, wine, books, etc. I didn’t want my gift to get lost in the crowd, so I decided to send her a simple personal note of thanks. I spent a long time choosing just the right words to express what I had learned from her and how I valued our working relationship. She called me the next week to tell me how special the note was, that she had passed it around to her staff and would treasure it forever. She said it was the one gift that actually meant something to her that year.

Thank you notes should be written to thank someone for a gift, a meal or for a favor done. Your appreciation should be acknowledged within 72 hours; thank-yous seem much more sincere when they are expressed promptly. I think one reason people don’t send thank-you notes is because they don’t own proper stationery. Both men and women need a collection of personalized social stationery, such as letter sheets (for women), Monarch sheets (for men), half sheets, foldover cards (also know as Informals), correspondence cards and envelopes. This set of stationery can be used for letters, thank-you notes, issuing invitations, replying to invitations and gift enclosures. Consider investing in these items; they will serve you well and make a great impression on your recipients.

Correspondence cards are the best choice for thank-you notes, however women may also choose Informals for their notes. Here is a sample format for a thank-you note for a gift:

Start by expressing appreciation – “Thank you for the beautiful picture frame.”

Mention the gift’s usefulness – “It is the perfect size for our large anniversary picture. The fact that our names and anniversary date are engraved on the frame makes it so special. It looks perfect on the hall table. In fact, it’s the first thing you see when you open our front door.”

Express the hope for a future meeting – “I hope you and Don can visit us soon to see how we are enjoying your thoughtful gift.”

There is really no excuse for not writing a thank-you note. Purchase the proper tools and make it a habit to write a note as soon as possible after the event or receiving the gift. And, please, teach your children to do the same.

It is believed by many people that thank-you notes helped elect George H.W. Bush to the U.S. Presidency. He carried a box of cards with him everywhere he went on the campaign trail and jotted a note immediately following each event to the volunteers or hosts. Many believe the personal touch of those notes is what propelled him into the White House. Is there a presidency in your future? Start writing those notes. And when you get there, send me one, too!

© 2016 Jill Bremer All Rights Reserved