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The Art of the Thank You Note

You know that you should write a thank you note to Aunt Sally for the box of oranges she sent from Florida. Your Mom drilled that into your head as a child. But how does your Mom’s sage advice translate to the workplace?

Turns out Mother really does know best. Knowing when and how to say thank you can make a huge difference in cultivating and strengthening professional relationships.

The Handwritten Note

In our social-media driven age, nothing beats the power of the old school technique of putting pen to paper. We get so few “real” pieces of mail that when you find a card with a handwritten address in your stack of mass mailers, you will no doubt open it first.

This is a way to differentiate yourself from others and cement the personal relationship your networking has been developing. You want those you work with (or hope to work with) to know that you approach your job with care and are willing to go the extra mile.

A good thank you note creates a connection and leaves a lasting positive impression.

Easy Thank You Note Format:

  1. Date your note and start by addressing your receiver.

  2. Thank the receiver for their time, gift or action. Be specific.

  3. Let the receiver know what the gesture meant to you, the impact of the time they spent with you or how you plan to use the gift.

  4. Include a positive sentiment about the recipient or if appropriate to the occasion, include friendly call to action about the next time you hope to see them (future business lunch or at the next business meeting).

  5. Say another statement of gratitude and appreciation.

  6. End with a closing sentiment like “Sincerely” or “With Warmest Regards” and sign your name.

The notes can be brief and should be sent in a timely manner. Use your best handwriting and check for spelling and grammar mistakes.

Digital Thank you Notes

When is a digital note okay? If you have no other way to contact an individual – a thank you email is certainly a better option than no thank you at all. It may also be appropriate for smaller gestures – no one is suggesting you send a handwritten note to your colleague every week. But remember, it is hard to convey tone and emotion in an email or text message (hence the over use of exclamation marks and emoticons).

Your professional success comes down to relationships. A little bit of old school etiquette and a personal touch may be just thing to catapult you to the next level.

What are your thoughts? How do you show appreciation and gratitude in professional settings?

Rebecca Wyhof is the President of Blue Roof Strategies, a boutique communications firm for companies and nonprofit organizations. For more about Blue Roof Strategies and to learn how they can help you achieve your goals, visit:

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