I know you were on the edge of your seat waiting, well maybe not, but today I’m sharing the 3rd and final installment of Why Do We Say Thank You – the Personal Thank You note.
If you think about it, it’s quite timely, as January is National Thank You Month – a “celebration” which clearly has a special place in The Appreciation Factor’s heart. (I promised I’d keep reminding you.) I’m sharing “no-fail” tips that you can use to write a great personalized Thank You note. I also wanted to share a great resource I found to write not only Thank You notes, but notes for all occasions, it’s Just a Note to Say… by Florence Isaacs.
Just a Note to Say… What a great book. I can’t say enough. I loved it so much that I even read it cover to cover. I initially purchased it to see if I could pick up some additional tips for this post, I did and then some. Isaacs’ approach is to truly think about the topic at hand and what it means/meant to you and how it makes/made you feel. Whether it is a Thank You note (gifts, hospitality, weddings, baby gifts); a Condolence letter (deaths, divorce); the Holiday greeting; or Get-Well Wishes (she even covers how to address severely ill friends and family), her more personalized approach ensures that your message is both memorable, and just the right thing to say at that moment. There are more topics than I’ve listed so I definitely recommend picking it up. (You can order it here.)
In my first installment, I talked about why we should say thank you. In the second, I shared how the Business Thank You note can win you a job, generate more business and is simply a classy thing to do. In this post, I’m sharing some tips on how to write a memorable Personal Thank You note.
Personal Thank You notes are a great opportunity to share how much that gift, thoughtful action or favor meant to you. Taking the time to hand write a thoughtful message that calls out how his/her efforts makes the recipient feel special and remembered for his/her kind gesture. If this doesn’t sway you, think about how you would feel if you didn’t receive one. You might feel slighted or unappreciated. The old mantra holds true in my book, “If someone can take the time to buy you a present or help you out, the least you can do is sit down for a few minutes and write a Thank You note.
Here are The Appreciation Factors 7 Tips on writing a Thank You note that will be appreciated each and every time! (I did take some cues from Isaacs too!)
1. Hand Write It
I’ve spoken on this “topic” several times. So quickly… Electronic emails and texts (HORROR!) can get lost in the transmission or even in the sheer volume each of us receives every day, not to mention how impersonal it is. Enough said!
2. Write Conversationally & Be You
This one is from Isaacs: You don’t have to be a published writer to write a caring note. As she says, “Just speak sincerely and in your own authentic voice. A meaningful note sounds like the person who wrote it – real and natural.”
3. KISS (Keep it Short and Simple)
You don’t have to write on and on. If you write too much it’s likely to not sound sincere. The average Thank You note is only made up of 4-5 lines.
4. Focus on What was Given or Done
Ask yourself, what made what he/she did or gave to you important when you’re thanking him/her vs. simply saying, “Thanks for (the) _insert help/gift here_.”
Did they watch your child(ren) when you had to run out on an errand or for appointment? Did she stay on the phone with you for the 14th time as you bemoaned the loss of a boy/girlfriend? Did you receive the most beautiful accessory that you didn’t know you needed, but adds that extra touch to your interview/date-night outfit? Tell them and be sure to be sincere.
Here’s are two samples using an approach I learned from Isaacs:
“Lauren, Thank you so much for the beautiful Swarovski two-toned bracelet. I couldn’t have imagined a more beautiful piece of jewelry that truly goes with my entire wardrobe. You really know my style!”
“Tony, I really couldn’t have made the cookies for Friday’s bake sale if you hadn’t had graciously watched Pat and Sue for that hour while I ran out to get the sugar! I’m still not sure how I forgot the most important ingredient!”
5. Reiterate Your Appreciation Before Closing the Note
A simple close like: “Thank you again for your generous gift.” OR “Thanks again for lending an ear when I needed it most.” would work well.
6. The Close/The Sign-off
While many close their notes with “Love” this may not be appropriate for the relationship you have with the recipient. Isaacs suggests “Warmly,” “Affectionately,” or “Fondly” as alternatives. In all cases, “Regards” will do if the rest feel too mushy.
7. Send it promptly
Send your note within 24-48 hours. A week at the latest! (Isaacs allows for 3 months at most for wedding gifts.)
You’ll find that the more time passes, you’ll likely get busy and sending a note will slip your mind. Hey it happens to all of us!
*The one caveat – It’s always better to send one late than never! You can even say – “I cannot believe it. I realized that I had not taken a moment to thank you for ________” I’m so sorry for the delay!”