How to write a thank you note

In this day of email and voice mail, a handwritten expression of thanks is truly special.  This is not the time for email.  Pull out the good stationery and your favorite pen to say thank you.

Expressing your gratitude is not as hard as you may think.  You just need to get the knack of it.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Time is of the essence.  Your thanks will seem more sincere if you send a note as soon as possible.  (But, better to send one late than not to send one at all.)
  2. Keep it simple.  Write on a small notecard so you are sure to keep it short.
  3. Greet the giver.  (Dear Aunt Sally,)
  4. Express thanks.  (i.e., Thank you for the leather notebook.)
  5. Mention how you’ll use the gift.  (I plan to use it as a travel journal on my upcoming trip.)
  6. Mention the future.  (I’m looking forward to seeing you next month at the wedding!)
  7. Say thanks again.  It’s not overkill; it’s a thank you note, after all.  (Thanks again for the lovely gift.)
  8. Sign off.  (Love, Elizabeth.)

The most important thing is that you write the thank you note in the first place.

And thanks are not limited to gift-giving occasions.  The same outline applies to express appreciation for something like a job interview:

Dear Mr. Jones, Thank you for having me to interview on Monday.  I enjoyed our conversation and hearing more about the company.  The plans for Company X’s future sound exciting and I am eager to join the team.  I look forward to hearing from you about my role with the company. Sincerely, Edward.

I have written several thank you notes to doctors, which might look something like this:

I wanted you to know how grateful our family is for the skillful and kind care you provided to our son when he required surgery.  We were quite anxious about his condition, but we were put at ease by your kind demeanor and our family physician’s emphatic endorsement.  We are happy to report that our son is doing well, and we look forward to seeing you next month at our follow-up appointment.  Sincerely, Patient Smith.

Sending a thank you note after a get-together is always appropriate.

Dear Jane, Thanks so much for having William and I to dinner on Tuesday.  We thoroughly enjoyed your hospitality and the opportunity to meet your lovely friends.  The food was divine.  I’m looking forward to seeing you both next Saturday.  Thanks again for a lovely evening.  Fondly, Elizabeth

Writing a thank you note is not hard, but it means a lot to the recipient.  Do you have any thanks you notes you need to send out?  Do it now!

And if you don’t have any thanks to send out at the moment, plan ahead so that you are prepared when the time comes.  Stock your desk with stationery, pens, and stamps.  Being thoughtful often comes down to being prepared.

photo credit:  Sarah Parrott

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  1. Julie says:

    I love this. I have also written quite a few thank you notes to doctors. I can appreciate your tips here. It reminds me that continuous investments toward purchases of thank you notes never go to waste:).

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