The Thank You Note – not just good manners, it's good business

The Thank You Note is overlooked as a valuable business tool. We all know that we are expected to send Thank You Notes for wedding gifts, and we will occasionally whip out a fast email in gratitude, but it is time to get serious about handwritten notes. As a writer of direct mail for over 20 years, research has proven that handwritten notes have a nearly 100% open rate. Why? Hand addressed envelopes are rare, the envelope is a different size and shape so they stand out from every other piece of mail, and they arouse curiosity.

Sending a handwritten note:
  • makes people feel appreciated
  • helps people remember you
  • will lead the recipient to see you in a different light
  • focuses positive attention on the recipient and boosts their reputation.
Stock Up
Buy them before you need them. Purchase at least three different styles of Thank You Notes and keep them where you work. This way, you have all the tools easily accessible to write while you are feeling inspired and grateful. I work from home and have an entire drawer devoted to Thank You Notes. My collection includes styles appropriate for personal notes as well. Also keep a sheet of stamps on hand.

It isn't necessary to have the words "Thank You" printed on the note.
Crane’s makes stationery so beautiful, you want to mail it to yourself. You will be hoping for an occasion just to send one. Although a full line of Crane’s products is available online, you should feel the quality for yourself. Crane’s is commonly found in stationery and gift stores. You will be hooked. Crane’s is the dignified choice that says you have breeding and your momma raised you right.

Caspari is another favorite. Caspari says, you are not only aware of the rules of etiquette, you have panache as well. The colors are breathtaking and they have choices specific to the different seasons and every year they produce a chipper Christmas design.

Target, Marshall’s, and Tuesday Morning all have reasonably priced and attractive cards as well. Collect a few different styles to match the seriousness of the gift or the personality of the giver. My collection includes blank cards with an olive green edge, plain ivory stock with gold and paisley lined envelopes, to the more whimsical variety with garden themes or inspirational quotes. And of course, every proper southerner has cards with his or her monogram on them.

Do not send your note through the company postage meter. It needs to look as if it is completely personal, which means hand address the envelope as well.

Verify Spelling and Address
Another reason to say, “Yay Google!” Double check every name and address by Googling them before you address the envelope. Never trust your source. Just last week, someone sent me her home address in Maryland, and when I Googled it, it turned out that a typo in texting would have sent my note to New Zealand. A one-letter difference in a street name could have had my card lost in the mail for weeks. Handwriting can be misinterpreted. Typos occur. People are rushed and write down their own zip codes incorrectly. A 30-second search will assure that your note arrives in a timely manner.

Send Within 7 Days
Receiving a Thank You Note within a week broadcasts to the recipient that you are appreciative and also efficient and proactive. If more than a week lapses, the note is still appreciated, but the recipient will feel as if you are sending the note out of a sense of propriety rather than actual appreciation. A slow-arriving note will make people think you begrudgingly sent it because it is something you read in a management manual.

Just a Few Sentences Will Do
What do I say? Coming up with the right thing to say frequently takes more time than buying and mailing the notes. Your note can be as little as three short sentences. There is a reason Thank You Notes are usually smaller than other types of cards. Handwriting takes up so much more space than typewriting; two or three sentences can fill the entire card. Recipients will remember that you sent a note far longer than they will remember what you wrote in it.

Talk about synchronicity; look what arrived while I was writing this post.
Summing it all up
It makes people feel good. You feel good. The recipient feels good.
Ask yourself these questions:
  • Did it make you happy?
  • Did it make you feel good?
  • Did it help you?
Then send a Thank You Note!

And this post is my special thank you to you, my dear reader, for taking the time to check out my blog. It is important to start this blog in gratitude, and the topic of Thank You could not be more appropriate.


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