Thank-you notes have appeared in many forms over the years, from wax-sealed scrolls to electronic digits floating through cyberspace.  Yet despite the advances in technology, one truth has stood the test of time.

Thank-you notes are part of civilized behavior.  If people do something for you, you should acknowledge their effort.

Even if you are not Shakespeare, you can quickly and easily write a good note by following a few simple tips.

General Guidelines

First, choose a delivery system that matches the occasion.  A thousand dollar wedding gift from grandma deserves something more than an email.

Second, write your letter in a timely manner.  The recipient should be able to recall what he or she did for you.  If you are thanking people for something received when they were not present, it is extra important to be prompt to keep them from wondering if you received the gift.

Third, avoid starting your note with the words “thank you.”  You will find that you write more engaging text if it does not sound like an obligation.

Dear Margaret, Thank you for the tie.

 Dear Margaret, How did you ever know that the lavender stripes on the tie you gave me would go so well with my blue suit?   What a thoughtful and practical gift. I know I will enjoy wearing it.

In addition to thanking the giver for whatever you received.  You can also talk about how nice it was to see the person the last time you were together or how much you are looking forward to a future meeting.

I look forward to seeing you in March during our trip to Naples.  It is my favorite time of year in Florida.

 You can also add some details about your personal life.

The last time Judy and I were there, we really enjoyed the art festival.  Judy has been taking painting lessons.  Perhaps we will go again to give her a little inspiration.  I know she is eager to show you her work.

 Thank you again for remembering my birthday.

 Warmest regards,


Business Notes

For business thank-you notes, the process is basically the same.

Dear Mr. Cervico,

 I appreciated you taking the time to speak with me today about your training needs.  Your new LMS system is really interesting, especially the custom avatars you created.

 I look forward to answering any questions you have about the demo disks I left with you.

 I think you will enjoy the interactivity we built around business etiquette during a meal.

 I look forward to speaking with you soon.  Thank you again for seeing me this morning.

 Kind regards,

John Smith

Mail-Ready Pointers

Fourth, if you are sending your note electronically, choose a meaningful subject line.  Although the first situation described would be more suited to a paper note, the examples below would be appropriate if email were a vehicle for either.

 The Wonderful Tie You Sent

Training Needs Meeting Follow Up

If you are addressing a paper envelope, write neatly and use a title when addressing the recipient:  Ms. Margaret Simpson instead of Margaret Simpson.

Next, be sure to insert the card in ready-to-read position.  When the receiver opens the envelope, he or she should pull the card out ready to read.  This usually means that the front is under the address and the spine of the card is located at the opening of the envelope.

Unless technology evolves in a way we have yet to see, thank-you notes will never write themselves. By following the steps described, you will easily write something of quality that genuinely says “thank you.”  A little appreciation goes a long way.