The Appreciation Factor

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


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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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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.