When was the last time you hand wrote a thank you note?

Recently I had the pleasure of writing quite a few of them, and in the process I had the thought that, like letter writing, the practice of writing thank you notes may be a dying art. Seriously, do any of you still own a copy of “Miss Manners”?

And when was the last time you saw a child gifted with a copy of “White Gloves and Party Manners”?

Let’s face it, most people don’t hand write anything these days. We email, we text, we pick up our cellphones, we even Skype. We communicate in all kinds of ways, but we just aren’t hand writing much of anything anymore.

What I know for sure, is nothing can replace for me the simple pleasure of receiving a well written thank you note. And, in today’s noisy, electronic world, a thoughtful card, with a few lines of “thanks” hand written inside, is a stand out symbol of caring and personal attention.

So, just in case you’ve forgotten how to write a thank you note, or you were never really taught, here’s the basic “how to”:

If someone took the time to give you a gift, you should take the time to write the person a note. Even in today’s world, this still holds true. Other times it is appropriate to write a note include any time someone goes “above and beyond” for you. In business, typical instances that should generate a note of “thanks”, include referring a client, initiating a joint venture, providing a resource, forwarding information of interest, even stimulating an “ah-hah” moment in a conversation.

Send your note as soon as possible after the courtesy is extended. And for all of you procrastinators, or just plain busy people, if time goes by, and you’re feeling embarrassed that it’s been too long… send the note anyway!

In addition to gifts, it is proper and appropriate to write a note when someone makes an extra effort on your behalf. Referring a client, suggesting a marketing strategy, hosting a meal, forwarding information of interest or even constructive criticism are all examples where a thank you note is appropriate. Your note should be sent as soon as possible after the courtesy is extended.

Lastly, randomly selecting a few clients or customers from your database every week to send notes to is a terrific idea. You’ll not only show your customer you care, you might jog his or her memory and you’ll definitely stand out from your competition. I am certain you can tell me who sent you your last hand written thank you note. Remember that expression – “People do business with people they know, like and trust”? Including thank you notes in your regular routine exponentially increases your know-like-trust factor!

What Should You Say?

Sincerity is the most important aspect in writing a thank you note. Your aim here is to let the recipient know why you loved the gift, or why you appreciated what they did.

First, greet the person you are thanking by name. Don’t start thinking you’re being casual by just saying “Hi”. The old- fashioned “Dear [first name]Jane”, works just fine.

Next, literally say “Thank you”. Examples might look like:

"Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to meet with me. I sincerely appreciate your input on my business plan."


"The gift of the winter sweater you selected for my birthday couldn’t have been more perfect. I love the color blue, and the style works well with all of my casual clothing. I really needed a new sweater, too."

When the gift is money, remember to share with the giver what you intend to do with the money. Everyone wants to know that you are putting their gift to good use.

Then say “Thanks again”, or “I am truly grateful” or “Your efforts are sincerely appreciated.” There is nothing wrong with repeating your thanks.

For the closing, use a simple, polite, heartfelt expression. Any of these standards will do: ”With warm regards”, “With sincere Gratitude”, “Sincerely”, “All the best”, “Cordially”, “In friendship” or my favorite “Wishing you well”.

Then sign your name.

Let me emphasize here, that I began this post using the term “hand written” thank you note quite purposefully.

Nowadays many people are sending off quick email thank you’s, and if you have no alternative, then certainly that is better than no thank you at all. But I believe that a handwritten note is viewed as more sincere and much more appreciated than any other form.

And no, using “Send Out Cards”, though certainly convenient and feasible for certain types of note/card sending, doesn’t count as a “hand-written” note in my mind. Handwritten is the only way to write/send a proper thank you in my book. Call me old fashioned, but that’s how I feel. I received a thank you card generated from Send Out Cards yesterday, and though the sentiment was well intended, I just didn’t feel the same way I feel when I see that the sender hand wrote the note. Maybe I shouldn’t be saying that out loud, but it’s my truth…

Finally, send the card! As I write this I have a note on my desk waiting to be stamped and put in the mailbox. It’s been there for three days…

This last step, actually mailing the card may seem silly to mention, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s found cards in the bottom of her purse that I intended to send a week earlier.

Enjoy the process. Sharing and expressing gratitude is one of the most uplifting things we can do for ourselves and others.

Author's Bio: 

Passionate about supporting overwhelmed, entrepreneurial women to transition from chaos to calm, Nanette guides clients through her signature coaching program “The 12 Baby Steps Foundation Formula for Creating More Clarity, Serenity & Success” as they create balanced, lifestyle businesses. Her newly released e-book, “The Art of Journaling to Grow Your Business – an Entrepreneur’s Guide to Authentic Marketing” is the latest addition to the personalized “self-care toolkit” she encourages her clients to design.

You can begin your instant, almost effortless, transformation today with her no-cost 12-part audio e-course available at: http://12babysteps.com/preview.

“Deliberate Routines & Empowered Actions Manifest DREAMS!”
– Nanette Saylor