Friday, April 20, 2007

TSF on Thank You Note Etiquette

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Shawna's Insight: This is one area I really pride myself on and try to master as much as possible. I know what it means to me when I receive a thank you but I also know what it does to me when I "don't." When someone helps you with a referral or lead in your business it is IMPERATIVE that you respond positively. No one likes to help out without recognition. Even the most giving person needs to feel appreciated and if you are receiving the help it's YOUR JOB to make sure you take care of them. Even though I may pay for a booth at a Vendor Fair, I will stay thank the facilitator who thought of me over other vendors. Currently I'm getting ready to participate in Crave Shop 07 which is a boutique convention and I am one of 12 Vendors that were chosen to participate. The booth is $500 but guess what? I will be thanking the event staff graciously for allowing me to participate over the many other vendors they could've chosen and I know they'll remember me for next year's event.

If you slack off in any area, make sure it isn't this one. It can be detrimental to your business and stunt your growth. Be sure to always send a thank you to your party hostesses as well. Even if they were a TOTAL PAIN, they helped pay the bills and send you on your way to other bookings!

TSF has covered the topic of thank you notes on numerous occasions. Sometimes we think that in this day and age of email communication that perhaps we are a bit behind the times in our thinking. However we share this article that is, a breath of fresh air.

By Jill Bremer, AICI, CIP
Bremer Communications

The impact of a handwritten thank-you note is often overlooked in today's fast-paced "why-write-something-when-I-can-email-it" world. A note written promptly and sincerely is an important ritual of etiquette that is much more effective and appreciated than a phone call or electronic message. Yes, we have a lot of technology at our fingertips, but just because we can do that way doesn't mean we should.

Most of our mail each day is filled with advertisements and bills. Handwritten notes and letters are a rarity, which makes them that much more meaningful to the recipient. When you write a note by hand, it shows the other person that you cared enough to pull out the stationery box and choose your words without the conveniences of the grammar tool and spellchecker! Written notes are also permanent, which means they can be saved by the recipient and passed around to share with others.

A few years ago, I worried for weeks about what to get a special client for Christmas. This was someone I had worked with very closely for a number of years on many different projects. She is laden each holiday season with several dozen gifts - fruit, wine, books, etc. I didn't want my gift to get lost in the crowd, so I decided to send her a personal note of thanks. I spent a long time choosing just the right words to express what I had learned from her and how I valued our working relationship. She called me the next week to tell me how special the note was, that she had passed it around to her staff and would treasure it forever. She said it was the one gift that actually meant something to her that year.

Thank you notes should be written to thank someone for a gift, a meal or for a favor done. Your appreciation should be acknowledged within 72 hours; thank-yous seem much more sincere when they are expressed promptly. I think one reason people don't send thank-you notes is because they don't own proper stationery. Both men and women need a collection of personalized social stationery, such as letter sheets (for women), Monarch sheets (for men), half sheets, foldover cards (also know as Informals), correspondence cards and envelopes. This set of stationery can be used for letters, thank-you notes, issuing invitations, replying to invitations and gift enclosures. Consider investing in these items; they will serve you well and make a great impression on your recipients.

Correspondence cards are the best choice for thank-you notes, however women may also choose Informals for their notes. Here is a sample format for a thank-you note for a gift:

Start by expressing appreciation - "Thank you for the beautiful picture frame."
Mention the gift's usefulness - "It is the perfect size for our large anniversary picture. The fact that our names and anniversary date are engraved on the frame makes it so special. It looks perfect on the hall table. In fact, it's the first thing you see when you open our front door."
Express the hope for a future meeting - "I hope you and Don can visit us soon to see how we are enjoying your thoughtful gift."

There is really no excuse for not writing a thank-you note. Purchase the proper tools and make it a habit to write a note as soon as possible after the event or receiving the gift. And, please, teach your children to do the same.

It is believed by many people that thank-you notes helped elect George Bush (the first one!) to the U.S. Presidency. He carried a box of cards with him everywhere he went on the campaign trail and jotted a note immediately following each event to the volunteers or hosts. Many believe the personal touch of those notes is what propelled him into the White House. Is there a presidency in your future? Start writing those notes. And when you get there, send me one, too!


Sandra said...

I always send my hostesses a thank-you note after the party. I do have one saved on my computer, but it takes no time at all to personalize it for that particular hostess.

Kelsey aka MamaSpice said...

I wholeheartedly agree with the importance of thank you notes (and I admit, I'm terrible about sending them in a timely manner sometimes!). I do, however, think that an email thank you is still highly important to acknowledge someone. Depending on the situation, it may or may not even necessitate a written note or card, in my opinion. But at a minimum sending off a quick email thank you is a million times better than no acknowledgement at all! :)