Oftentimes good writing is correlated to literary fiction or poetic prose. We tend to forget good writing exists in everyday occurrences, i.e. a thank you note.
A well-written thank you note can leave a lasting impact, long after it's recycled.
Just like an article or essay, a thank you note should answer: who, what, where, and when.
Who will you thank?
Make a list of everyone you want to thank. Is the thank you note a response to a party, gift, or a job well-done?
This might seem obvious but making a list will help to eliminate skipping over someone. It also allows the opportunity to plan your personal approach.
What will you say?
Make some notes before your final draft. This helps you gather your ideas and avoid making a mistake.
Pro tip: Thinking about sending a card? Before you put ink to paper, fold a piece of regular paper with the same orientation as your card. Then, write the thank you message on the paper mockup. This helps you to visualize not just what you want to say, but its placement. Avoiding the awkward spacing before or after your message.
What will you include?
Include a greeting with the correct spelling of the person’s name. Be sure to address Mr., Mrs., Ms., or Miss appropriately. Yes, Miss and Ms. have different meanings.
Start your note by immediately thanking the person or expressing your gratitude.
Thank you so much for the…
I’m so grateful you attended our…
Your help really made a difference when…
Follow up with specific details. This will make the thank you note resonate with the recipient. Your attention to detail emphasizes your appreciation, i.e. tell how you used the gift you received.
Show excitement about seeing them again. For example, can't wait to see you again at XYZ.
Reinforce your thanks. Add any last-minute details and remind them how thankful you are.
Add a closing like:
Before finalizing, proofread for proper grammar and mechanics.
When will you send a thank you note?
As soon as possible! Too much time passes, and your recipient might think the thank you note was sent out of pity. For large events like weddings, baby showers, etc., thank you notes are typically sent within a month. Any later warrants an introductory apology.
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