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How to Write a Thank You Note & Why You Should

Christopher Lykins

For some, the thank you card is the easiest type of card to write, especially if you have developed a writing routine; for others it may be the most difficult card you write. There are plenty of reasons to write a thank you card: you're thoughtful, you're grateful, you're kind, for instance; but, It’s important to remember that sending thank you notes is considered by many to be a key to success (people remember people who are thoughtful, grateful, and kind—being remembered is helpful in business and in life.)

It's easy to get hung up on what to say or to worry that the recipient will feel awkward when they receive the note. Research shows that people overestimate the awkwardness and underestimate the surprise the recipient feels (why do you think people who send thank you notes are more successful?) as well as the positive feelings the recipient feels.  If you're interested in digging deep into the science of thank you notes, you can check out the full study here. Basically: you're overthinking it.

Even with science on our side, it's easy to have a mental block, here are a few ideas for how to make your thank you card easier to write and more meaningful.

3 simple things to consider when writing a thank you note.

  1. Be specific: If someone invited you to their house or gave you a gift, mention that item or event specifically.
  2. Be personal: If the thank you card is for being invited to something, mention how you enjoyed the conversation or their hospitality. If you received a gift, mention how you had been eyeing that exact item or how you plan to use it.
  3. Be intentional: Wrap up the whole affair with a simple statement of intention. Perhaps how you hope to see them in the future or that you’re looking forward to having them over soon.

Keep in mind that you really only need a few sentences, so the 3 points above can serve as a nice, easy template. The most important thing is sending the card in the first place. You'll break through the clutter of social media, texts and LinkedIn messages that everyone's tired of seeing. A physical thank you card, written by and and sent in the actual mail will show the recipient that you really care and took time out of your busy schedule to express gratitude. 

Here are a few examples of what to write in a thank you card to get you thinking:

"Dear John, I appreciate you and Jean having us over for dinner this past weekend. Mark and I especially loved the scallops, and have been talking about them ever since. Your house is beautiful and your dogs are the sweetest. We'd love to see you again soon and have you over to our place. I'm not sure we could cook the gourmet meal you did, but we always love having people over and have that great takeout place next door. Cheers, Chris"

"Dear Dad, Thank you for the recent birthday gift. Susan absolutely loved the book and stole it from me before I could even finish reading it. I'm about through it now that she's finished and have thoroughly enjoyed it. We can't wait to see you and mom on vacation at the Cape this year. Much love, Mark"

"Dear David, I wanted to send a quick note to thank you for your support of our fundraiser this year. We ended up raising 29% more than last year and we couldn't have done it without your generosity. I know that we'll reach more children than ever before as we move into the new year. Let me know if I can ever give you and John a tour of the property and show you some of the great things we're doing with your donation. Best, Tyler"

Do you have a remarkable experience to share from writing a thank you note? Did you close a business opportunity or build a great friendship through the simple act of expressing thanks? Let us know in the comments; we'd love to share your story. 

Until then, thanks for reading and we appreciate you!

If you're thinking of starting your own writing routine, be sure to take a look at our greeting card subscription box. We created it as a way to force ourselves to write more notes. With four cards including envelopes and free postage stamps, the subscription gently reminds you to send a few cards every month.

Photo by Morvanic Lee on Unsplash

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