In today’s world of instant communication through social media, texting, and email, fewer and fewer thank you notes are being handwritten and delivered. Generally, people enjoy receiving thank you notes. So why don’t individuals send thank you notes more often? Are we too busy to show we care? Were we never taught to write a thank you note? Is writing a thank you note inconvenient (time, stationery, stamp, post office, etc.)? Are people just lazy?
Over the last couple of years, I have conducted a couple of experiments with groups of 20-30 adults related to the handwritten thank you note. Here is what I learned:
- Some adults have never handwritten a thank you note. Believe it or not, this is true!
- Many adults are experiencing a decrease in their ability to write and use their penmanship skills as a result of using technology to communicate. People today simply aren’t required to handwrite much anymore. Many adults are losing confidence in their ability to write.
- Some adults believe a thank you note is too time consuming.
- Many adults express their appreciation in other ways.
- When given a card and envelope to the groups of 20-30 adults, some adults did not know how to address the envelope or how to begin to write a thank you note.
Here are a few quick tips and reminders related to the handwritten thank you note:
- The proper format for writing a thank you note is: date, salutation (Dear Stacy), the message, closing (Sincerely), and your name.
- Keep the focus of your message on the receiver of the thank you note.
- Write neatly with no mistakes.
- Buy and strategically place blank thank you notes in a visible place so they are easily accessible. Also, keep blank thank you notes in your planner, calendar, desk drawer, and car glove compartment so you always have one ready to show your appreciation.
Let’s aim to handwrite more thank you notes in our daily lives. Executives and managers could use the help of their assistants to write thank you notes. Assistants, please help your executive or manager to identify individuals that should be thanked throughout the week. Give your executive or manager a couple of blank cards and ask him/her to take just a moment to address the envelope (provide them the address) and handwrite a sentence or two on each card. If you want to make it even easier on your executive or manager, create the message for them on a separate piece of paper and ask them to duplicate it in their own writing. Assure your manager you’ll handle the rest—delivery, stamp (if needed), etc. Handwritten notes mean so much more if they are written by the sender and not their assistant.
Also, the handwritten thank you note can help to set you apart from your competition when securing employment. Set yourself apart and handwrite that thank you note after the job interview.
If you need help with writing your thank you notes, I recommend purchasing the following books from my Reading List on my website:
Make it a goal each week to identify people who have done a great job on a task, purchased you a gift, made your day easier, offered a service, gave a great presentation, or did something that made you happy and handwrite them a thank you note.