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  • The Art of Thank You Notes

    The Art of Thank You Notes

    Thank You notes are a great way to let someone know their generosity of a gift, their time, or their effort was important to you. A well-written note, typically in blue or black ink (never printed off your computer) will stand out and remain memorable long after the occasion.

    Thank you notes should always be timely, and generally observe some points of etiquette. Follow this basic format to get it right every time.

    The STRUCTURE

    I. The Salutation: Dear ...,

    “Dear” is formal, best for after interviews or official matters. it's ok to substitute as you would an actual greeting: Hi, Hiya, Hey, and Hello all work just fine.

    II. Thank you for...

    Immediately thank them for their generosity of time, attendance, or their gift. For example,

    Thanks so much for the flowers, they made my day!
    Thank you for coming to my party, and the awesome gift.
    Thank you so much for making the time to meet with me.

    III. Elaborate on your gratitude...

    A small mention of how or why you care, for example, 

    The colors are so vibrant and they completely brighten up the room
    It was so great to see you again.
    It was really so generous of you to give me a full tour of the studio.

    IV. Conclude with a plan for the future.

    If appropriate, propose an idea for the near future, for example

    Meet up soon? I'll call you this week and let's make a plan!
    We should do it again, maybe get dinner? Let me know...
    I'd love to follow up with you about the project I mentioned.

    V. Closing:

    Whatever seems appropriate for the occasion, for example,

    Formal:
    Sincerely,
    Best regards

    Informal:
    Best,
    Fondly,
    With affection,
    Lots of love,
    Hugs!

    The OCCASION

    GENERALLY…

    You receive a gift.
    Someone attends an important event in your life.
    Someone does you a favor.
    You're just grateful for someone being in your life. 

    BUSINESS

    The opportunity to interview
    Attending your event
    A great employee
    Doing business with you
    Meeting with you
    Buying you lunch
    A job well done
    A referral

    GRADUATION

    You receive a gift, or a card.
    Attendees (including parents.)
    Teachers, professors, mentor, custodians, it's the moment to acknowledge someone who made a difference.

    WEDDING

    Attendees (including parents.)
    You receive a gift from the engagement, shower or wedding
    Hosts and all those who helped along the way including friends, co-workers, family and vendors.
    Your Best Man, and/or Maid of Honor.

    BABY SHOWER & NEWBORN

    You receive a gift.
    Attendees of your baby shower.
    Hostess—a personal thank you note in a timely manner is an absolute must.
    Any person who helped, from neighbors and friends to almost-strangers who took the initiative to make your life a little easier.

    The DOs & DON'Ts

    Here are some common caveats when writing a card.

    DOs

    • DO send it promptly, while you’re still fresh in their mind.
    • DO be personal, show care in your choice of words.
    • DO check and double-check for typos, preferably before you start writing on the card.
    • DO remember the element of surprise: people love receiving a note or card, it’s a memorable gesture.

     

    DON'Ts

    • DON’T assume a text or in-person thanks is sufficient
    • DON’T go off-topic, be concise in your sentiments.
    • DON’T, absolutely do not send a pre-typed-up, cliché, generic message. 

     

    TO CONCLUDE...

    A good note is quick and personal. Sometimes the stationery is impressive, or just right, and sometimes it's the clarity of the thought, a little poetic gesture that comes through. In all cases though it's impressive that someone put on pause everything else to find the time, the stationery and the words to put together and send as an intimate gesture of care. 

    Your Thank You Note need not be elaborate or full of "expensive" words. The very act of doing it puts you in another category altogether and with this brief guide—and a little practice—you're on your way. 

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