Our lives are busy these days; trying to wrestle our kids out the door, pick up the house and wash the dishes, balance work and home life, drive the carpool - sometimes even just getting in the shower seems like a feat.
So the thought of adding another task onto our plate might not sound very appealing at the moment; however, today I want to talk about the importance of writing a thank you note.
Many of us remember our mothers sitting us down after an event and strongly encouraging (if not bribing and potentially threatening) us to write out thank you notes to each of the friends and family members who gave us a gift for our birthdays or graduation. This tedious task was miserable when you were the one doing the writing, but our mothers knew of the necessity.
Thank you notes are such an important correspondence in life, whether to say thank you for a gift from a dear friend, gratitude for an interview opportunity, to thank someone for a business referral, or to give a teacher our appreciation for shaping the minds of our children. A written thank you note is a timeless gesture many times overlooked these days.
In your personal life...
A good thank you note can be as simple or as complicated as you like, but the most important thing is to make it personal and sincere. A thank you note needs to include an opening followed by the name of the recipient - a simple Dear Sally or Dear Mrs. Taylor (if you are addressing a teacher or woman older than yourself) will do. Next you need to mention the name of the gift or good deed that the recipient has given, followed by a little something more specific about the gift such as how you look forward to using it or displaying it in your home. The final step is to simply close the note and sign your name. Easy as that!
Thank you notes should always be written when:
1. You receive a gift
2. A friend or family throws you a party or gathering
3. A person does something special for you (ie. finds your lost dog, brings you a meal when you are under the weather)
In the business world...
Thank you notes in business are just as important as they are in our personal life. With the advancement of technology, the written word is becoming extinct it seems, so when a neat and nicely written note shows up on your supervisor’s desk, they will most assuredly take notice.
It is always good practice to write a thank you note following an interview. This gesture might make you the stand-out if your resume looks similar to all of the other candidates. It is certainly not a guarantee to land you the job, but it might put you in good standing for the next opening or even lead to a referral from the interviewer for a different job.
You may also want to send a thank you note following a business dinner, cocktail party, and most certainly when you are invited to a business function in someone’s home.
Let's not forget about our children...
"The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any." - Fred Astaire
If we are going to work on writing thank you notes more regularly in our personal life we must talk about getting our kids started on it as early as possible.
You might be reading this and saying to yourself - "my kids are too young for thank you notes, they can't even write their name." Trust me they are never too young to send a thank you note. If your children fall in the younger category mentioned above, how about tearing a page from one of their coloring books and having them color it? Mom can add the words thank you at the top and their name at the bottom and viola you have a thank you note!
As they grow a little older you can consider a fill-in-the-blank thank you postcard. These are a great way to teach our kids to get into the good habit of sending a thank you note when they receive a gift.
Once they learn how to actually write an entire letter you will have cemented in their minds the importance of the thank you. Plus, you will be sending out your own notes and they will take notice.
Showing our gratitude is important and there is just nothing more special than getting a sincere, handwritten note from a family member or friend.
I encourage you to continue your good work with writing thank you notes or to start a new habit today.
Take the time and send a note.
Janae Huffman is a mother of twin girls, she has served FWMoM's as VP of Special Events and she is a Certified etiquette consultant.