The Appreciation Factor

All things Appreciation: Things to Appreciate and the Ways we look at, Show and Think about Appreciation.


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What if You’re Not “Thankful”?

I’ve written posts at The Appreciation Factor about why you should write thank you notes, and provided tips on writing business and personal thank you notes. However I’ve recently been asked about what to do when you know you should write one, but aren’t 100% thankful.

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Staying the Path – Followers Come as They May

You may not all know it, but I recently celebrated The Appreciation Factor’s 3rd anniversary. (It’s January 31st.) 

I’ve found it rewarding, challenging, scary and candidly every once in a while, hard. The hard part is sometimes finding topics that feel true to not only who I am, but what I wanted this blog “to do/accomplish” in the first place. That is:

Share some thing new or Make you think about something in a new/different way.

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Tips on Writing a Memorable Personal Thank You Note

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 Just a Note to Saysome.  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!”

 

What do you think of my tips?  Do you already use some of them?
Do you have a tip to share or that has worked well for you?
Do you write Thank You Notes?


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You Could Change a Life … or at Least Someone’s Day

As you’ve seen read know by now, I’m/the Appreciation Factor is a huge proponent of writing and sending Thank You notes.  I’m also in support of writing and sending what I call the “Just Because” note.  

I think that we are all affected by one person or another each and every day – and many times in a positive way.  So I ask, why not send a note (a”Just Because” note) to those who we want to reconnect with, those who help us, inspire us, positively challenge us and/or care about us?  I believe that we all can benefit from an unexpected note of cheer if we’re feeling down, going through a challenge or transition, or even be congratulated as reinforcement on a good job.

Now I’m not saying, as my title may allude to, that my or your note is definitely going to save a life, but who knows?  Words are powerful. Perhaps your note will arrive at just the right time to be that force of change, the one thing that changes an attitude, inspires and/or turns things around.  Can you think of a note you’ve received that’s meant a lot to you?  Personally, I have several notes that I carry in my planner.  I have one that recognized me for acting professionally in a very challenging and negative situation, one where I’d sent a gift that was especially meaningful, and another that shared how my actions created a positive reaction in someone else’s life.  I re-read each of them periodically.

My Approach in 2015:

I’m sure you’ve been reading/seen quite a few resolutions online already.  I’ve even seen several resolutions where the writer plans to increase her/his appreciation.  I decided to take things a step further. (As an aside, I don’t set resolutions, I create goals to strive towards.)

One of my goals this year is to “Write 1 note of appreciation/just because note (hand written is preferred*), each week or minimally 2-3 times a month.” 

It’s sounds a bit daunting I know. How many of us find time to keep up with all of the “To Dos” we already have on our plate, let alone adding a task that will take concerted energy, effort and stamps!  As this is in conjunction with my commitment and desire to be even more thoughtful and appreciative in the coming year, I think I will be successful.
(These will be in addition to the Thank You notes I already write after interviews, receiving gifts, going to lunch etc..)

Here are just a few examples of the types of Just Because notes I hope to write (I’m sure more will naturally come to mind as I progress through the year):

  • A note to tell someone how much they’ve inspired me
  • A compliment on a good job – (e.g., a note to our handyman for keeping the property running efficiently)
  • Congratulations on an achievement I’ve heard or read about
  • An “I’m impressed” for someone who acted with integrity through a challenging time
  • Encouragement to a job seeker or friend running/starting their own business
  • “Just because I was thinking of you today” – when something I’ve seen or heard made me think of a friend or colleague or simply just because they are my friend

I’m really looking forward to working on this goal.  I think that even the simple task of finding/buying fun and interesting stationary and blank note cards will add to my success.  Don’t get me a wrong, do I think a call would be a great way to connect and express my sentiment, or even a store-bought greeting (vs. blank) card?  Sure, but I’ve always found that the personalized hand written notes I’ve received have been the most powerful.  I’ve appreciated the extra effort it took to write something and mail it.  In fact, I have several that I keep in my planner that I have read many times over because they’ve meant so much.

Here are some cards I already have on hand. (I’ve tried to list the source or a link to purchase where possible.)

Just Because Cards 2

Clockwise from Left to Right Row by Row. 1. Vineyard Vines Patchwork (Unfortunate Appears to be sold out – Try your local VV shop), 2. Be Optimistic unknown source (picked up at craft fair), 3. Ciao (Unknown was a gift),
4. “It’s My Bag” by Simply K (I make these. Contact me for details.), 5. Anchor Thank you Paperchase, 6. Blank Stationary,
7. Turquoise/Orange Spiral graph Flowers In May (Ask for info as I bought at an outdoor market), and 8. Hey Stranger Paperless Post electronic card.

*My one exception to the hand written note is using an electronic one when I don’t have a mailing address.  My new favorite resource (for those of you who read my post about Electronic Thank You Cards – which I’ve since updated), is Paperless Post.  This is a great free* site that does not limit the number of online cards you can send.  (*The site requires “coins” if you want to send one with an “envelope,” a designer card (e.g., Kate Spade), and for some select categories.  However, upon registration you’ll receive 25 free coins!)  Paperless Post also has the option of  sending your personalized cards as a paper option through the mail.   It’s definitely worth checking out!

*NOTE I am NOT paid nor compensated by Paperless Post. I simply really like using it! Plus they are great listeners when it comes to feedback. A tracking improvement suggestion I made is already in the works!

 

While promising to write a set number of cards per week or month can be too much for most people.  I hope you’ll consider sending out at least a few of these Just Because notes in the coming year.  The time and consideration will definitely make an impact on your recipient, and should she/he say thanks, you’ll hear in their voice how much this extra effort meant to her/him.

Do you already send Just Because notes?   What has prompted you to mail one?  Have you ever received one that resonated with you?  Do you keep it on hand to read again and again?  Think you might try to write some this year?


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Customers and Networking Contacts Deserve Your Thanks

It seems to be that time of year, where the question has come up again about how to appropriately say thank you to your customers and networking contacts or (to my horror) whether you should even take the time to send a thank you.

Just today I came across two references on this topic. One referred to the sales benefits you could attain by saying thanks (at all times of the year), and the other was around the topic of whether to send holiday cards as a way to show a business’ appreciation.

In the blog post by Julian Bush on Financenk’s, business development blog, called 4 Ways to increase Sales by Showing Gratitude to Customers he addresses four key areas about appreciation.  This article was totally up my ally as it had overall resounding support of showing and thinking about appreciation at all times.  Bush’s first two points supported my belief that your customers and networking contacts deserve the time to say thanks.  It’s his view that to succeed in business is to show gratitude.

Here are the two points that resonated with me regarding the client and network perspective:

Those who have helped you. 

He recommends taking time each day to send a thank you message via email, text, or Internet greeting card, (See my recommendation for this last one) to those who may have, for example, referred a client or helped you in some way.

I agree, though for me, every day might be too overwhelming and I’d want to ensure that the act of showing my appreciation was meaningful vs. a chore. (It would NOT however, be dependent upon how large or small the act of assistance or kindness was.)Picture1

 

Are you appreciative for knowing someone?

Bush’s expression of gratitude expands to all who positively impact your life. This could be your family, your friends, your customers and colleagues.  He believes that to share this appreciation will attract more of the same assistance and likely reciprocal gratitude your way.

 

 

His last two areas talk to written affirmation of what your thankful for as a whole, and in your daily life. Both are worth a review.

Bush sums up his post with the statement that by taking the time to show gratitude to your clients will reap the rewards of deep loyalty, an increase in client retention and profits. I really can’t argue this fact, as many of my clients have remained close over the span of 10-12 years. I think this partly due to my ongoing recognition of their assistance and simply their support of my business and/or services.

 

Xmas Thank you note

This leads me to the second reference I found today.  I came across this in one of my LinkedIn Groups, Sticky Branding.  A lead contributor, Jeremy Miller, posed the question, “What’s your take on the practice of sending season’s greetings cards to clients.”  While the response ran the gamut of sending personalized cards, to ones that go out at Thanksgiving or New Year’s, the answer was a resounding “YES!”  Again, I’m fully in support.  We should always extend our appreciation to those who have helped along the way.

Each year around this time, I feel lucky as I start compiling a list of customers, clients, network contacts, and colleagues who have been instrumental to my success over the past year.  Just prior to the Christmas holiday, I’ll send out cards (both traditional, non-secular printed cards or an email card (see my post on a great resource) wishing this group, “Season’s Greetings” and a reminder of how much their help, their business or general goodwill to me during the year has meant.  This list truly reminds me of how blessed I’ve been.  *NOTE: I don’t see these cards as taking the place of the acknowledgement I would have sent at the time of the action/assistance.

Thanksgiving TY Note

There were many takes on the timing of these cards. Some proposed the Thanksgiving holiday time – which I agree, is right in line with the holiday’s meaning as we think about it today. Others expounded on the “Christmas” card time frame, still others a New Year’s timing.

While I personally aim for Christmas, I thought the New Year’s group had a point. Perhaps if I delayed my delivery slight, my card could provide more impact. My card/message would be seen/read and break through the clutter. However, I did disagree with the strategy some who’s goal was to send these notes to increase business.  I send my holiday cards as a message of appreciation and thanks.  I’d like to think that no matter my timing, that the sentiment (and yes I do include a personalized 1-2 sentence thank you on each and every card I send) would be received/appreciated no matter when it reaches my recipients mail/in box.

 

 

What you do you think?
Does your business send cards?  Do you personally send notes when someone has helped you or after you’ve completed a project with a client?  Do you see your cards or thank you notes as a way to increase business/used to impact business?  Would you send one regardless of the financial impact they may or may not have? Or is there an impact on your brand or company that you think sending these out may have?


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In Business It’s Always a Great Practice

I wanted to follow up with the 2nd in the 3-part series about Why We Say Thank You, and today I’m focusing on Business Thank you notes. 

I am a big proponent of saying thank you and especially in sending  thank you notes.  I believe that saying thank you is one of the best business practices you can follow.  Thank you notes show that you are professional, you can be humble, they can help set you apart and land that great job you may be after, and they can help build strong, long-lasting relationships with colleagues, customers, prospects and key industry influencers; plus it is expected.

Writing a HW TY Note

When Should We Write Them In Business?

  • After an interview (no matter if it was in-person, on the phone or via Skype)
  • After you have received an endorsement or referral
  • When you have received advice or assistance in your career or on a project (I’d recommend these for those outside of my immediate firm.  Inside the firm a verbal thank you does the trick.)
  • Thanking a customer for their ongoing patronage of your business or services

The Handwritten vs. Typed vs. Email

HANDWRITTEN: This is my absolute top choice with it comes to sending a thank you note.  It shows that you care enough to take the extra time it takes to find a note card or stationary, write the appropriate appreciative sentiments, and put it in the mail.  It will set you apart from many who will quickly jot down an email, because you will be more likely to take more time to think about what you want to express before you write it down than you might in an email. To me this is a win win classy approach.

TYPED I have taken this approach at times where I felt the audience would be more receptive to a more formal approach. (e.g., financial institutions and clients often responded more favorably to the typed note or thank you.)  I’ve also used this version when I felt I needed more space to clarify a point in greater detail than might fit on a 4×6 thank you note.  (I’ll still keep it fairly brief and to the point  — I’ll address some times momentarily –, but it might be more straight-forward, and actually can look shorter if you take this approach.

EMAIL:   I may sound old-fashioned, but I do not believe in emailing a thank you note, especially after a job interview.  I know that some believe that emailing shows that you are technically savvy and aware of today’s electronic practices and in some cases, immediacy of the send is critical.  However, this method most often leaves me with the feeling that there was not a lot of thought that went into sending it, or that I couldn’t be bothered to write or type something and then put it in the mail.

If you absolutely feel that your handwriting is so poor that you message would be indistinguishable or if you’re applying to a company that expressed a dislike for all things paper – then email.  BUT… in no uncertain terms, take a casual approach to the message, (e.g., use slang, use a tone that expresses too much familiarity (if he/she is someone you haven’t known/done business with before.)  You should also never send a mass email or copy and paste the same body message to each of the recipients.  Each messages should be sent to one individual and personalized in the body copy based on the situation and discussion that took place.  They will compare your notes – I can guarantee that!

If you must send a note electronically, consider using an electronic card service like Puchbowl, or Hallmark (you can read more about these sites in my “An Electronic Thank You that even I Can Love” post.

Why Should I write One (Beyond the Above Reasons) aka What are the Potential Benefits?
Here are 3 Great Reasons:

  1. It makes a lasting impression, long after you’ve verbally said thank at the time of the interview, assistance or business interaction.
  2. It can help you build a solid business relationship with colleagues, customers and make a positive impression on prospects, that  extends long after he/she has received the note.
  3. It can set you apart from another candidate if: he/she did not send one, or you both are equally matched and you expressed a point you forgot to mention in the interview.  I can also show your attention-to-detail, especially if you hand write your note, and the other candidate sends a quick impersonal email.
DID YOU KNOW?
Thank you notes are expected by most hiring managers and recruiters.  According to a CareerBuilder.com survey…

Stats

Helpful Tips for Successful Thank You Notes

While I can’t write it for you, nor go into too much detail here in the post, I have assembled some personal tips I like to use and a few I’ve found that were widely accepted and expressed in the articles/blogs/etiquette sites I’ve come across:

  • Send within 24 hours of the event that prompts the thank you.
  • Use a nice store-bought thank you card (not greeting card ) or personal stationary. Crane & Co. and Hallmark make some great boxed cards you can and should keep on hand.
  • Add a “header” If you are typing the note – include your address at the top before the recipients and be sure include the date.
  • Always address the recipient as “Dear Mr. or Mrs. and their last name.  The exceptions, unless you’ve been given verbal approval to call them by their first name – you can never go wrong by being a little more formal here.  It’s also often OK to use a first name after “Dear” if you already know them/have worked with them for some time.
  • Refer to why you are writing to him/her – thank him/her for their time, the interview, the assistance etc.Thank you note
  • Keep the note as brief as possible, but be sure to add a comment, statistic or topic that you discussed. This can help set you apart and/or quickly remind the recipient who you are if they met several candidates over a long interview process. (e.g., you both love a trendy vacation spot, but shared a love for a lesser-known restaurant there… add it.)
  • Include a point you wanted to clarify if you think it could have been misinterpreted, or one that you wanted to expand on.  Keep it brief and better yet, bullet it if you can.  Using bullets can also quickly draw the eye of the recipient for these key points you want to ensure he/she sees.
  • Keep the tone professional, but add a little of your personality and don’t rehash everything that was discussed.
  • Thank them again for their time, assistance etc. before closing the letter.
  • Be sure to let hem know you’d like to keep in touch/see them again.  It shows you enjoyed and benefited from the time you spent together or the help/advice you received.
  • Enclose a business card, or contact information.  If you didn’t hand him/her a business before you left, you can do that now, or minimally include a way for them to contact you again.
  • Sign the note with “Sincerely”, or an “All the best”/”Best Regards” – Use something that is a little formal followed by your full name NEVER sign these with “Love.” Remember these are business notes, not personal ones.

I hope this gets you on your way to writing successful and frequent thank you notes. Remember you can never go wrong in thanking someone.  It can set you apart and can go a long way in bring you much success.

Do you use these same or similar tips?  Have you ever benefited from sending a thank you note?  Are there other instances you think require a thank you note?


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Why Do We Say Thank You?

This will be the first of a three-part post that will focus on saying “thank you” and thank you notes.
 
TY Quote

 

January is National Thank You Month.
(National Thank You Day is 9/15 – Don’t worry I’ll remind you!)
I suspect that it may be due to the fact that many write thank you notes for their holiday gifts this month, so maybe it’s Hallmark generated?  Whatever the reason, make sure you say “thank you,” this month.

 

 

Origin of “Thank You”
The month-long recognition got me thinking about where the saying “thank you” came from.  “Thank you” was taken from the phrase, “I thank you,” which according to Wikipedia’s Word and Phrase Origins, “the word “thank” derives from the Old English verb “pancian,” meaning to give thanks, which in turn derives from the Proto-German term “thankojan,” which also spawned the Middle German term “danken,” meaning to thank.” (PHEW!)  It was meant as a way to express good thoughts or gratitude.  Thank you Wikipedia!

 

 

Thank you noteEarly Thank You Notes
This of course led me to now wonder about the origin of the actual thank you note, so I did some more digging.  ehow.com*  was a great resource where I found out that “thank you notes” started with the Chinese and Egyptians, who shared messages of fortune and goodwill on slips of papyrus.  In the 1400’s, the Europeans expanded this practice and began exchanging and locally delivering handwritten notes as a new way of social expression.

Early versions of what we now know as greeting cards weren’t introduced into America until the mid 1800’s, all thanks to German immigrant Pouis Prang.  However, he wasn’t responsible for the formal practice of writing and sending thank you notes.  We can thank the etiquette books for that, as they began promoting and recommending proper practices for showing our appreciation and the formal writing of thank you notes several years after the greeting cards were introduced.

 

I love showing my appreciation to others for their kindness and assistance and believe that saying “thank you” and sending thank you notes are two of the most important things we can say and do in today’s society.

Too often the practice of expressing one’s gratitude gets lost in the shuffle of daily life or on the flip side is forgone because there are some that feel entitled to any/all assistance.  On this latter view, these people often feel that because they deserve the kind gesture, help or good will, there is no reason to say “thank you.”  I strongly disagree with this notion.  Kindness and assistance are things that are shared and given by another – they are not a given right.  To say thank you only takes a minute, or a little longer if you are sending a note, but extends the kindness further.

 

Here Are Just a Few Reasons To Say “Thank you”**

  • When you are the recipient of a gift
  • When someone (family member, friend or stranger) holds the door open for you
  • When a colleague, co-worker or industry professional has provided their time, advice, assistance or an introduction
  • When the restaurant server at your table brings the food and after she/he has cleared the table
  • When a family member has helped you in one way or another — yes they deserve to hear it too!

** Some of these instances would also be followed up with a handwritten or typed note.

 

Three-Part Post
As noted earlier, this will be part of a three-part post.  In my follow-up posts, I’ll focus on when to send thank you notes and tips on writing them for personal and business/professional audiences.  Please feel free to send me your ideas and input on this subject.  I’ll do my best to incorporate your feedback into these two posts.

 

Have you said “thank you” recently?

 

*Additional thanks to Jennifer Dermondy’s ehow.com article.


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An Electronic Thank You Note Even I Can Love

As someone who appreciates the hand-written thank you note, I sometimes feel left behind as more and more people use their computers and phones for their primary communication.  However, I understand the need to be flexible and adapt where necessary, especially when the only contact option I have is an email.  It was on this track that I went in search of an impactful thank you note that had the following criteria: it was email friendly, free was ideal, and something similar to what I would send in the mail — icing on the cake.  I found everything I wanted at Punchbowl* and just had to share it with you.

I located this site several months ago when more and more of the traditional card companies’ sites were starting to require paid subscriptions to send electronic cards, and honestly, I didn’t think that the options were really all that great.  Unlike the flat static or whimsical cartoon animation I found on sites like Hallmark or American Greetings, Punchbowl offers a classic square card image encased in a color-coordinated envelope complete with postage stamp. The bonus in this case, clever animation that mimics the actions you would take when you open a snail-mail card.

Here’s a sample of how it works: 

In addition to thank you notes, the site offers greetings for birthdays, “just because” cards, ones for standard holidays like: Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Rosh Hashanah, Father’s and Mother’s Day, as well as non-traditional ones like: April Fool’s Day, Earth Day, and even Talk Like a Pirate Day (that’s on 9/19 in case you were wondering) and more.

                                       

Need an email reminder for your special dates, a party theme idea, help with planning a party or party supplies?  Punchbowl has you covered here as well.

*Note:  You can opt-in to a paid subscription to have great editing capabilities and more card choices, but to date my needs have been met by the wide variety of free options available on the site.  (So many more than those I’d found on the traditional greeting card websites.  While I expect to see an increase in interest/use of Punchbowl, I hope they’ll continue to offer the quality and large variety of free options.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

12/1/2014 UPDATE 

When I visited the site today I found that Punchbowl now charges and limits what you can do there with a free/basic “membership.”  Since I used it extensively, this presents some challenges.

I was working on my holiday cards, and finished my first, only to find that I COULD NOT:
1. Schedule a Later Date. (You must email same day with their new policies).
2. You cannot send more than 10 cards in the same month. (I can send up to 50/month- if you pay $39)
While I loved these cards and the site, I’m not sure about the $39 fee. I prefer to hand write my cards as you know, but sometimes you simply need electronic versions (to make that impact.) However, at this time I really don’t have the volume/need to send 50 cards/month that would justify the new monthly $29 fee.

Wanted to make sure you had an update in regards to fees and “volume” if you like the electronic versions.

Have you found other sites like Punchbowl that pack a punch when it comes to
electronic greetings?
Would you prefer a hand-written note or one sent electronically (like these),
or a simple text email?


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Thank You – I Appreciate Your Support

297!!!
Wow… as of this May 3rd post, I’ve reached 297 views!!  I’ve even apparently reached someone in Singapore!  How they found me  is something I’d really love to know!

Before I post my next blog topic, I wanted to take a minute to say thank you.  Thank you for your support, for reading and for your feedback (both the positive AND negative comments).  You guys are simply the best and you keep me researching, looking for and finding new topics to share and discuss.

Getting Here
When I embarked on this journey in January… it was after many, many months of trying to determine what I wanted to write about that wasn’t just added noise.  I’ve always wanted to try to focus more on the positive things in life.  Often we see so much negativity, in how people react to one another, in the news, and in our economy.  It’s truly disheartening.  Why not focus on the positive, even if it’s in the small things?  Maybe my words/point of view could spark a change for the better.

 

All in all, my goal was as simple as having you, the audience, think about all things around appreciation.  This included thinking about how we appreciate things and those around us, how we show that appreciation and/or identifying a topic or point of view that you, or even me, may have never heard about or considered.

 

So Far So Good.  I Think I’m Accomplishing My Goal.  
I’ve received feedback that I’ve sparked conversations about previously unknown subjects, provided a different view –  even if it was one that the reader disagreed with, and I have even made some of you start outwardly expressing your love and appreciation of people and other things.  I too have been affected in this process.  I tend to appreciate those around me more, I try to be more patient and understanding and I try to look at things more deeply versus just giving something a cursory glance.  I don’t believe that I could write about and share these topics with you without trying to live or approach things in the same way. 

 

Have a Topic that You’d Like Me to Address?
Before I sign off, I do want to put out a request for ideas.  While I have several articles in the works, I’d truly love to hear if there is something that you would like me to cover in a future post. 

  • Is there something that you’d like to see change or be viewed differently? 
  • Do you appreciate something that you don’t feel many other people do?
  • Is there a new way to appreciate something or someone, that you want to share?
  • Do you know of someone I should interview and/or feature in the blog?
  • Something else you want to share?

Let me know about it… I’m always open to new ideas, approaches and feedback. 

And again, thank you so very much for you support.  I hope you’ll keep reading, and maybe even refer a friend or two!
Kris


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Little Notes … Big Impact

Oh the joy of finding a love note, word of encouragement or appreciation tucked inside your jacket, purse, luggage, lunch bag or on your keyboard.  The little things can mean a lot.

I’ve always enjoyed writing and giving little notes, pictures or an inspirational quote to show I care.  I’m not necessarily talking about creating anything elaborate, but rather something I make on the spur of the moment.  Think of a note or picture on a post-it note, index card or even a message written several pages ahead in a loved one’s notebook. (Parents seem to be particularly skilled in this practice, especially when it comes to wishing their kids good luck on an upcoming test or tryout/audition.)

I also like adding the element of surprise if I can.  I think it’s best when the recipient comes upon these notes unexpectedly.  And candidly, I probably enjoy the element of surprise as much as I enjoy letting someone know that I am thinking of them.

Here are some samples I found online that illustrate what I’m referring to:

  

 

 

 

 

Haven’t tried it?  Don’t have a significant other or child?  I also try to create these moments of delight by simply saying thank you.

I often like to recognize the help that I receive at work, by handing out thank you “notes.”  I thank my co-workers, direct reports or even my boss when they have helped make a bad day better or if he/she has provided instrumental assistance/guidance on a project.  I’ll also maintain that element of surprise by dropping off these notes when the recipient is away from his/her desk. 

As a bonus, I found a great product made by Compendium, Inc. that makes my effort even more impactful.  It’s a pop-open 2-1/4”w x 1-7/8″h card with “Thank you” on the front and an inspirational “thank you themed” quote revealed inside when you “pop” it open.  Again, it’s not a formal note, it’s simply a few lines of appreciation that I write on the back (lines are provided), accompanied by a great quote.  And while the quote is always a surprise, it’s ironic how often it seems tailor-made to the event or the help that inspired it.  

 

Want to try it but don’t think you can draw or you need inspiration?

If you’re too unsure to create your own, you can buy these the cards.  I found and buy mine at this MV gift shop, but you can purchase yours at this Compendium site.  They sell 26 different themes!! – I didn’t know that they had so many.  Personally I’ve used/sent four themes so far: “Thank you”, “You’ve Got a Friend”, “I Believe in You” and “Whatever it Takes.” 

 UPDATE 2016: Compendium has revamped the cards – some changes for the better others not sure (definitely more packaging which I’m not a fan of, but I do like the call out to “open” the card – which was quite tiny on earlier versions.)  Their new site is http://www.live-inspired.com (which was automatically redirected in my link above.) The name of the product changed to “Thoughtfulls, (under “pop-open cards” in their Products drop down.)  They also have “lunch mail” which are notes targeted to kids.

I’m also not clear on how the “thank you” and “thanks” cards differ – it’s not really spelled out on the site. (I own a new box of Thank you, Thoughtfulls and it’s a similar approach to those I’ve used in the past.) 

 

So what are you waiting for? Make a big impact by sharing (and hiding?) an inspiring note of love, appreciation or luck today!

Do you have a unique way of showing that you care?  I’d love to hear about it!  Share it today.