Monday, June 04, 2007

The Art of the Thank You

I've come to the conclusion that after one is married the amount of money spent at Hallmark on cards increases 5 fold. It used to be I'd buy a pack of thank yous, a birthday or graduation card here and there and $20 later, be done with it. Now I have a whole other family to wish happy birthday, congratulate, celebrate, and thank, coupled with 20-something friends getting married and having babies. There's simply too many of these celebrations occurring simultaneously that I don't have the time to handcraft cards the way I want. So I contribute to Hallmark's profit with another $80. In the words of Kurt: So it goes.

Of course I'm always drawn to the cute cards that retail for $5.99. I wind up ranking the importance of people and occasions - is this worth $5.99? Honestly, besides mom and dad, the only time I don't cut a corner is with a thank you note. I mean this literally and figuratively. If I can do it, I'll buy the nice card. Sometimes time is scarce so a quick email does the job, but whatever the method of choice, spend the time crafting the note. I can't tell you how many thank yous I've received over the years that are lifeless and written simply because "I have to." Get over yourself. Someone did something nice, went out of his or her way to help you, mentor you, gave of his time, bought you something - whatever - the least you can do is acknowledge it. Trust me - People don't forget it...and they tell you so you never forget how important the thank you is to them. After an event I found a ridiculously cute and appropriate card to thank my boss for the new learning experience (seriously, I'm not a kiss ass...I just really enjoyed my role at this event) and I'll never forget the email: "I wish everyone had your manners." My wedding was a year ago and one of my relatives kept the thank you I sent her because "It was one of the nicest well written notes I ever received!" I mean, she kept it?!

So what do you do? Grab a card, make a card, buy a card.

Say thanks. Thank the person for the gift, gesture, time, etc. Don't just say thanks for "the gift." It's too vague and impersonal. Reiterate it. Monetary gift? Writing "Thanks for your generous gift/donation" is the quintessential line.

Talk it up. What's so great about the gift? What makes the gift/gesture/donation so special? Will it go toward anything particular? People like knowing these things. Write 2-3 short sentences describing why that iPod Nano is wonderful or what that donation will fund.

Wrap it up. "Again, many thanks for your - insert appropriate adjective here - gift. Think words like generous, thoughtful, kind, etc. Then sign.

By the way, old school style gets you the most points here -- handwriting the thank you. But email or a typed letter is still good.

Here are examples of a few I've written:

Dear Aunt Denise,
Thank you so much for your generous wedding gift. (The dear husband) and I are looking forward to putting this toward furnishing our new abode with hardwood floors and fabulous new furniture. It was wonderful that everyone could be with us on our wedding day; it truly meant so much to us to have our friends and family celebrating with us. Again many thanks for everything.
Love, Chrissie

Dear Presenter,
Thanks so much for the opportunity to work with you and your staff this past week on marketing projects. It was a valuable experience and I look forward to seeing how the season brochure turns out. It was a pleasure to work with you and your staff - everyone was so welcoming and helpful. You have a terrific team and I hope you'll consider me for future consulting projects.
Sincerely, Chrissie

So there you go. Maybe you've gleaned some ideas...or not. Regardless, I thank you for reading this post :)

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