Manner Monday®: Business ‘Thank-You Note’ Blueprint

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by Carey Sue Vega in Business Etiquette, Manner Monday

Thank you so much for all of the kind words and encouragement after last weeks post on #30ThanksIn30Days! I can’t wait to check in with everyone who chimed ‘I’m in’ and see how you’re doing. I dug in one day and caught up on my list and now I’m having fun thinking of notes to send ‘just because’ – what a great feeling! Let’s see if I can keep the momentum going!

The post also prompted a great question from an emerging young professional that I thought was something others might enjoy as well…

Q – I saw your post about writing 30 thank you notes in 30 days and I have a few people I want to send notes to this week. I met a few new people at a networking event and would like to send a thank you note to follow up with them. I want to leave a good impression because I would like to work at their business upon graduation or possibly intern. ‬ ‪Do you have a couple of sample thank you notes that you have done in the past that you would not mind sharing? I am a student and heard you speak at an event last Spring. My goal is to get better at writing thank you letters and having a couple quality examples would help. I admire what you are doing and I am an advocate for a good hand written letter. ‬‪Thank You, ‬Danielle ‬

A – Yeah!!! I’m looking for the applause and party horn emojis from my phone to insert here! (I know they’re not for use in a professional environment, but I’m excited about her question and how she’s taking initiative!) I wrote a post a few years ago, when I was trying to come up with a fun way to encourage the young students I work with to write notes, that may be helpful. You can read it here 4-3-2-1. But let’s dig in a bit more on the topic…

Paper is Important
For starters, make sure you have some professional looking notes. Something plain and simple will do the trick. Save anything too ‘frilly’ for personal notes. The quality of your paper is also important. If you choose something really nice, like Crane, it just feels good in your hands and adds to the receiver’s experience. If you have time, click on this link to learn why Crane paper is so amazing.

Next, grab a good ink pen.
I personally like to use navy ink, and sometimes I even go for gold ink (but ONLY if the situation is right). Some say the blue ink stands out and is more memorable than basic black. Whichever ink color you choose, make sure the ink flows smoothly, doesn’t smudge, and doesn’t skip.

Type it out first.
Now this may sound counterintuitive, but give it a try. We’re used to typing and allowing our thoughts to flow freely. When we immediately start to write out a note – many times we don’t do it because we think, ‘what if I mess up’. By typing out your thoughts, you can cut and paste, reword, and rework your sentences before transferring them by hand to the note. Using this process, I personally get on a roll and end up working on multiple notes in one sitting. Then putting the pen to paper is not so ‘scary’ and it actually turns out to be a fun exercise.

Use their name.
Make sure you use their correct name and write it right. If they go by a nickname or their middle name and you use the wrong name, you’re defeating the purpose of the note, which is to make a connection and build a relationship. Take the time and do your research. If it’s a formal note and you’re addressing a senior executive, I would err on the side of ceremony and address them with the title, Dear Mr. or Ms. Smith. It will show that you value and respect the relationship and the process.

Express the appreciation.
Make sure you write in the present tense. Don’t be wishy-washy and say something like, “I just wanted to write to say that…” Be specific and straightforward. Highlight a point of conversation from the previous encounter, or certain skills you’re thankful the person taught you.

Thank you for taking the time to visit with me during the ABC event and sharing information about your company and career with me. (Adding anything specific they mentioned).

Explain why.
Be specific, don’t exaggerate, and be sincere with any compliments. And don’t bloviate (I love that word)

You can mention how what they shared with you will be beneficial to you moving forward or how you have already researched or applied what they told you. Make sure to maintain your focus on the person you are writing and on their generosity. This isn’t about you.

I researched your company and love the mission statement. I enjoyed reading about how your company has _____________.

Back to The Future
Refer to the past and the future.

I enjoyed meeting you and look forward to seeing you at the next ABC event.

Thank them again and sign off.
I literally end my notes with,

Thanks again.

Carey Sue

Sometimes, I’ll use something less formal such as ‘cheers’, or ‘regards’. It depends on the person, the situation, and the tone of the note. Pick what feels most comfortable to you.

Make it a Habit.
I find my thank-you note writing goes in stages. I’ll be doing really well, then things get busy and I push it aside for ‘later’. If you make it a habit and schedule the time into your calendar on a regular basis, it will become second nature and will help to build your professional network like no other way!

Is anyone else ‘in’ for #30ThankIn30Days? If so, let me know how it’s going!

Danielle, I hope this helps! I would love to hear an update on the success of your note writing adventure!

If you found this post helpful, would you mind sharing it with someone else you think might enjoy it and encourage them to sign up to receive Manner Monday?  I would appreciate it!  Then leave a comment below with a comment to encourage other young professionals like Danielle about the importance of a hand-written note.

Click to Tweet: Business ‘Thank-you note’ Blueprint: Learn to make a connection and build relationship with your pen. #MannerMonday

As always … Thanks for reading!
– Carey Sue

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