“THANK YOU.” Most everyone says this daily and it feels perfectly natural to say it.
But for special situations, when we want to put our gratitude in print, it’s different and, sometimes, even difficult. So once you’ve got a great card or some nice stationery, what comes next in thanking someone for a gift, an interview, a thoughtful gesture? Perhaps
the tips below can help you write a thank you note that’s not only sincere, but appropriate as well.
Handwritten Thank You Note
First, know that a handwritten thank you note is always appreciated. With email being such a common form of communication, personal notes are more valued than ever. And taking the time to acknowledge someone’s kindness or time will mean the world to them. Simply the fact that you’re writing a note sets you up for success.
Next, try to be timely. A thank you note is best sent within a week. For a large event, like
a shower or wedding, up to three months is acceptable, but “sooner” is preferred than “later.” If time gets away from you, just offer a humble apology, but don’t dwell on your delay. The note shouldn’t sound like it was a burden to write.
For more formal or business thank yous, such as after an interview, a thank you email can be sent immediately if there is a sense of urgency (say in placing an order or filling a position,) but it should still be followed up with a thank you note or letter sent shortly after the event–within 2 to 3 days. (See links below for more information.)
A few ideas for business thank yous…
- I’m so happy you recommended our company to one of your friends…many thanks for your thoughtfulness.
- Or: We were so happy with your____________, we just wanted you to know we’ll recommend you to all our friends.
- Thank you for the time you spent showing me…
- Thank you for showing us what “above and beyond” really means…
- I know your time is valuable, so I just wanted to thank you for making room in your schedule for me.
Be Yourself and Be Specific
Now, just be yourself…but be specific. Address the recipient in the way that’s comfortable for both of you, and then focus on your reason for writing. There’s no need for a long lead-in as you might do in a letter. Let the recipient know right away what you’re thanking them for, and describe it thoughtfully. Saying the gift is incredibly useful, the dinner was delicious, or their act of kindness was enormously helpful are personal touches that mean
Add Some Details
Don’t hesitate to add more details to genuinely express your gratitude. For example, if you’ll think of the gift giver whenever you use their present, tell them so. If you felt the dinner guests were a great group of people, let the host know it. If thinking about what someone did still makes you smile, that’s something they’d like to know. Elaborating on the reasons for your gratitude helps people see themselves positively from your point of view—and doubles the joy of the gesture.
End With a Compliment
Finally, finish the note with a sincere compliment that will leave a lasting effect. Whether they’re a one-of-a-kind wonderful friend, an amazing cook, a prospective employer, or you appreciate the time they took out of their busy schedule, now is the time to tell them you noticed—and it will make them feel extra special.
Remember, the thank you note itself, although expected, can often be a pleasant surprise. And everyone wants to feel appreciated. So, the few minutes you take to tell someone you’re thankful could brighten their whole day…and yours!
A few ideas for social thank yous…
- You always know the perfect thing to (do, say, give, etc.)
- Your kindess during a difficult time was sincerely appreciated.
- I feel doubly blessed…first for what you did, but mostly, for what
you mean to me.