Writing Thank You Notes mkaes you memorable and others feel good.

The Joy of Thank You Notes

I read an inspiring article, How a Simple Thank You Can Make a Difference in The Globe and Mail written by Sharon Kofed and it made me smile. Sharon teaches business English to international students. Because of the profound impact of personal notes she’s sent, she decided to incorporate the art of writing thank you notes into her class.

Thanks but no thanks?

Her students are from many different cultures and some were not even familiar with the concept of writing thank you notes. So she assigned them some homework, writing a personal note, a letter of appreciation to someone they needed to acknowledge. She was blown away with their response.

The results were touching and incredible

One student had written her mother a note to thank her for taking menial jobs so she could go to university and have a better life than her mother had. When her mom read the note, she burst into tears because she realized her sacrifice had not gone unnoticed by her daughter. (Click to read more surprising results from their notes in the touching article)

But writing thank you notes in email is easier?

A module in our business etiquette training and networking seminars focuses on the importance writing thank you notes to nurture and add value to your personal and professional relationships. Most seminar attendees want to know if an email would suffice.

Old school? You bet

Sending an email note is okay, but do you want your appreciation to be just okay? You want it to be memorable. Sending handwritten personal notes is so rare that when we receive them we appreciate them and tend to keep them forever. While sending a note via email isn’t wrong, it doesn’t have the same impact or longevity of an old school handwritten personal note.

Top of hearts and minds

I once sent a client a thank you note after successfully completing a project. Six months later, the client invited me back to discuss another project. Guess what? After six months my card was still sitting on his credenza. You can’t do that with an email.

Better to give AND receive

Recently, a coaching client sent me a handwritten card to thank me for working with her and boosting her confidence. She said the experience not only contributed to her career advancement but to her personal life as well. She felt good and now so did I. That card has a special place on my desk.

7 Tips for Writing Thank You Notes

  1. Just Do it! – Sometimes we stress over what to say because we think our message needs to be perfect and so never get around to writing the note. If you have appreciative thoughts about something or someone – put it into words and send it. It’s best to keep it simple, heartfelt and personal.
  2. Have cards on hand – Having a selection of attractive cards on hand for various occasions will make it easier to get your notes off quickly. When you see a neat card buy it. (I’ve recently went to a craft show where I picked up some beautiful scenes of Edmonton)
  3. Thank someone for just doing their job – If a colleague does something that makes your life easier, surprise them with a note. (Yes, even if it is their job.)
  4. Convert wait time to note time – To make it easier,  do it on your down time– like those long waits at the airport or your doctor’s office.
  5. Sweet sound of our name – Be sure to spell the person’s name correctly. I’ve had that happen and it diminishes the message.
  6. Never too late – It’s never too late to acknowledge someone’s thoughtfulness, even after much time has passed. While sooner is better, it’s never too late.
  7. RSVP – You don’t have to reply to a thank you note but people often do and that’s nice too. Just don’t initiate a never ending chain letter, where you end up thanking them for thanking you for thanking them for thanking you for…

What about you?

Who do you need to recognize by sending a hand written note? Have you sent or received a note that lifted your spirits? We’d love to hear your stories.

Posted by Joanne Blake – Canadian Business Etiquette Expert and personal note writer

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About the author 

Joanne Blake

Canadian speaker, corporate image consultant & business etiquette expert. If you're interested in booking a presentation, keynote or coaching, contact me. Based in Calgary / Edmonton, Alberta in western Canada.

  1. Hi Joanne,

    I read your post awhile back on Thank You notes and had wanted to respond to your blog on an experience I had, but like they say, Life gets busy”.
    Years ago when I was quite young and still in school long before the internet…”I’m showing my age”, I took a workshop on “How to Excel in a Job Interview”. The workshop facilitator stressed all the important factors that go into a successful job interview. One thing I learned that day that I had not known prior to this workshop was to write a thank you letter to the interviewer, thanking them for their time. I thought, yeah whatever who writes a thank you note after a job interview. Regardless what I thought, I followed through with everything I had learned in that workshop checking off all the important points on “The Job finders Checklist”. Almost a week and a half week later I had received a phone call from the organization I had applied to. They thanked me for the lovely “Thank You Card” and had offered me the position. They said that it was an extremely difficult decision deciding whom to hire as for the most part we had equal qualifications.
    I was told that it was that card that made me stand out.

    I am no longer working for that organization, as I have moved onto bigger things; however I believe it were those very few moments that I took out of my life so many years ago to write that card that has gotten me to where I am today.

  2. Thrilled to hear that this post served as a good reminder. I try to choose unique cards when I’m traveling so I always have some on hand.

  3. Thanks Joanne, for the reminder. At one time, I sent lots of cards, but haven’t for quite a while now. It’s time to get back into the habit.

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