Category Archives: Thank you notes

The New Year is Thank You Note Season

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Now that the holidays are almost over, and we find ourselves in the new year, it’s time to start sending out thank you notes for the thoughtful gifts and tasty treats you received during the season. Yes, I know, those are not the words you want to hear—especially since you know that I am talking about those handwritten notes that I continue to harp on. It would be so much easier and more convenient to text or email your gratitude. A few clicks of the keyboard, and you’re done.

However, when it comes to delighting those special gift-givers with the perfect sentiment at the perfect time, here are two things to consider:

  • Ink trumps email. Why? Ink implies effort.
  • Handwritten notes connect people in a way that simply isn’t possible via text or email. How? Your unique handwriting makes your message and therefore your relationship more personal.

Now that you understand the power of the handwritten note, what’s holding you back?

  • Is it the time? We all have the same number of hours and days.
  • Are you too busy? Everybody feels life is too demanding.
  • Do you lack the supplies you need? If you haven’t heeded my earlier advice and purchased appropriate cards or notes before the holiday rush, those items are still available. They do not sell out during the holidays.
  • Did you forget to buy stamps?  If so, no problem. The rush is over at the post office so pick up stamps while you’re out shopping for your stationary. Then write a note to self on your calendar for next fall that reminds you to buy your correspondence cards or notes and stamps early.

Finally, the greatest obstacle for most people is knowing what to say and how to say it? Those two things should be the least of your worries if you establish a process for writing your thank you notes and follow these steps:

Step 1. Decide how to address the recipient. Do you need to formal salutation or one that is casual? Are you going to call the person by first name or use their title and last name?

Step 2. Begin with “Thank you”. There’s no need to attempt anything more exotic than those two words.

Step 3. Name the gift specifically. Saying “Thank you for the gift’ is cold, off-putting and will make your recipients wonder if you value their gift or even know what it was. You might as well say, “Thank you for the thing.”

Step 4. Say something about the gift. What made it special? How will you use it? If someone sent your food items, tell them how much you either enjoyed the treats or how much you are looking forward to having them. Even if you are not thrilled with what you received, the giver need not know.

Step 5. Say how much you appreciate the thoughtfulness. This is really simple and always sincere. Who doesn’t appreciate being thought of?

Step 6. Choose your closing. Again…are you being formal or casual in your approach? Your salutation will determine your closing.

Think of your thank you note as a sandwich.

The opening and closing are the like the two slices of bread. Your thank you for the specific gift is the lettuce; the sentence about why you like the gift or how you will use it is the meat; the statement saying you appreciate their thinking of you is the cheese. Now wrap that in an envelope; garnish it with a stamp; and you have it. Just don’t forget to drop your handwritten thank you notes in the mail.

Lydia Ramsey is a Savannah-based business etiquette expert, keynote speaker, trainer and author. Contact her at 912-604-0080 or visit her website: LydiaRamsey.com. Find out how her presentations, workshops and resources can help you and your employees add the polish that builds profits.

 

 

 

The Handwritten Thank-You Note

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Handwritten Notes

Handwritten notes

Do you want to make a positive professional impression during the holidays?  Do you want to make your clients, customers and colleagues feel special?  Do you want to stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons?  Then try sending a simple handwritten thank-you note to those who thought of you during the season.

Whether you received a gift, were included in a holiday party, were invited to a special meal, or were on the receiving end of an act of kindness, take time to recognize people’s thoughtfulness and generosity.

You may have been given a gift at the office party.  Perhaps a vendor delivered one in person. In both instances, you should have expressed your appreciation at the time. But go the next step and follow up with a handwritten thank-you note.

If the gift came by mail or some other form of delivery, it is even more important that you acknowledge it.  The person who sent it needs to know you received and appreciated it.

If the present came from an organization or a business group, you are not off the hook.  Some people think that when a supplier or vendor sends a gift, it doesn’t require any form of thanks.  Being the customer or client is no excuse for bad manners. 

When you were included in a holiday party or meal, always follow up with a written thank you.

Sending a handwritten thank-you note is not as daunting a task as some people make it out to be if you follow these tips.

  1. Purchase the appropriate stationery before you need it. In business, thank-you notes are traditionally written on message cards (5 x 3 ½) or correspondence cards (6 ¼ x 4 ¼) which are single white or ecru cards with your full name or monogram engraved at the top center. Another option is the fold-over note (5 ¼ x 3 ½). The front page is blank or has a monogram engraved in the center.
  2. Do not send the garden variety cards that have “Thank You” printed on the front if you want to appear polished.
  3. Keep some of your stationery on the top of your desk, as convenient as your phone and computer.  If you put it in a drawer, there is the temptation to “get to it later”.  Have your stamps next to your stationery. This assures that your notes will go out in a timely fashion—like that day or the next.

The format of a business thank-you note mirrors that of a general thank-you note. It’s simple.

  • Begin with a salutation.
  • Mention the gift, occasion or act.
  • Be specific by writing how you feel about it. What makes it special, useful or helpful?
  • Say “thank you”.
  • Compose a sentence that winds it up.
  • Add your closing.

A handwritten thank-you note trumps an email thank you every time. It gives the appearance of extra effort on your part and makes the recipient feel special. So do yourself and the generous person who sent the gift or who entertained you a favor.  Take five extra minutes to show your personal gratitude with a handwritten note. I promise that in today’s world, you’ll be among the few who do and you’ll long be remembered for your thoughtfulness and good manners.


Lydia Ramsey is a  business etiquette expert who believes it’s not about rules–it’s about relationships. She is keynote speaker, trainer and author of several books. Contact her at 912-604-0080 or visit her website: LydiaRamsey.com to find out how she can help you and your employees add the polish that builds profits.

Handwritten Notes – How to Stand Out in Business

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When was the last time you received a handwritten note from a business associate?  It may be so long ago that you can’t remember. On the other hand, if you have received one lately, you know exactly who sent it and when. If you are looking for ways to stand in business, be noticed by your colleagues and clients, and set yourself apart from your competition, try putting pen to paper at the slightest excuse and send out handwritten notes.

Handwritten notes are practically extinct in the business world—and everywhere else. Few actions are more impressive than handwriting a letter or a note to someone with whom you already do business or would like to.  Most people think that writing notes by hand requires a lot of time and effort.  Ironically, it can be quick and painless if you do it frequently and follow these tips: 

Have writing supplies close at hand.  Keep stationery and stamps in a convenient place in your desk or better yet, on your desktop.  When you need to send a note, reach for your stationery, dash off a few lines, address the envelope, add the stamp and mail it.

Keep your message brief.  These are notes so you only have to come up with three or four sentences to impress. If you attempt to compose more than a few lines, writer’s block will set in and you will never get past “go.”

Address and stamp the envelope ahead of time.  Before you leave for a business meal or event, address and stamp an envelope to your host or business colleague. Writing your message as soon as you return will be a breeze. 

Use professional stationery.  Both single-sided correspondence cards and fold-over notes with the company name or logo imprinted on them are business-like and will represent you and your organization well. Another choice would be cards or notes with your name imprinted.

Poor penmanship is no excuse.  The person who receives your note will appreciate your thoughtfulness and is not likely to grade you on handwriting.  If your penmanship does not meet your standards, it is never too late to improve.  There are numerous resources at your local library and online to teach you how to write legibly so that you are not embarrassed to send handwritten motes.

Use any occasion to get noticed with a note.  A few of those instances are when…

  • You have received a gift
  • You were hosted at a meal
  • You received a business favor
  • You have made a new business connection
  • You are replying to an invitation
  • You want to follow up after an event
  • You are sending condolences
  • You would like to offer congratulations
  • You need to apologize

Make your message timely.  Whether you are sending a note of appreciation, congratulations or condolence, do it as quickly as possible. A thank you should go out within 24 to 48 hours.  However, don’t forgo sending a note because you think too much time has elapsed.  There is no  statute of limitations on appreciation.

Successful people pay attention to the details and look for ways to build better business relationships.  When you take the time to send handwritten notes, you will stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons. Your next big sale or job promotion may come about as a result of your doing business just a little differently from your competition.

 

Lydia Ramsey is a Savannah-based international business expert, speaker, trainer and author of Manners That Sell – Adding the Polish That Builds Profits and Lydia Ramsey’s Little Book of Table Manners. You can contact her at 912-604-0080 or visit her website at www.mannersthatsell.com

 

 

 

After the Job Interview-A Handwritten Thank You or Not

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A subscriber recently sent me an email asking about handwritten thank you notes after the job interview. She wanted to know if it was necessary to send one during these times when etiquette and professional conduct seem to have vanished. My answer to her question was a resounding “Yes.” What you do following the interview is just as important as what you do before and during this stressful event.

In my presentations to college and universities students in particular, this question always comes up. At one session there was a recruiter present from a local bank. She told the students that the people who stood out for her were the ones who took the time and made the effort to write a thank you note following the session. She even went so far as to say that she saves the notes she receives.

Key points to keep in mind when sending a handwritten note:

  1. Your handwriting does not matter. You want it to be as legible as possible, but don’t use poor penmanship as an excuse not to write.
  2. Use a quality fold-over note or correspondence card. This is no time to skimp on cost.
  3. Address the envelope and put the stamp on it before the interview. That way, when it is over, you return to your desk, write the note, slip it into the envelope and head for the nearest mail box.
  4. Your thank you note serves as a “sales” letter as well. Use the opportunity to say why you want the job, what your qualifications are, and how you would contribute to the company. Your thank you note is also an opportunity to address anything you overlooked or needs clarification after the interview.

Handwritten thank you notes make a really good impression, but if time is of the essence, send a follow up thank you by email. The Internet is definitely faster than the postal service. The next step is to write a note as well. It may seem redundant, but the paper note will have a longer shelf life than your email and keep you top of mind with the interviewer.

The handwritten note is one of a vanishing species. Very few people think it is important and therefore they do not send one. You will stand out from the crowd and your professional conduct will not go unnoticed when you write your thank you. Your education, skills, experience and expertise are documented on your resume. Your interpersonal skills are evidenced by your personally written thank you.

Good luck to those job seekers!

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.

The Vanishing Thank You Note

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A video clip from CBS News prompted me to call attention to the value of the thank you note. I have written about this topic before, but I feel I can’t stress it enough. It’s good business and it’s good etiquette.

When was the last time you wrote a note to thank someone for something they had given you or done for you? Most of you reading this probably can’t remember. Those of you who can answer positively and even document when and to whom you wrote a note of appreciation are a rare breed. The thank you note is sadly vanishing. Yet a few handwritten words of gratitude can do more for your business and personal relationships than you can imagine. Expressing your appreciation takes very little time, effort and few supplies. It will bring you unexpected returns.

Here is all you need to send that note:

  1. A quality note card
  2. A good pen
  3. A supply of stamps
  4. Ten minutes of time

Keep your writing supplies in a convenient place where they are easy to reach. The minute someone does something nice for you, gives you a gift or buys your lunch, you are ready to respond.

Your response does not need to be lengthy. A few sentences constitute a note. Just be sure you mention the gift or the action specifically, how you will use the item or how the act affected you.

Poor handwriting is not an excuse. The person who receives the note will be so impressed at your effort that they will not grade your penmanship.

Start writing notes as a business tactic. Then sit back and watch the results of adding the polish that builds profits.

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.

Business Thank You Notes

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As I exited my Rotary meeting early this morning, I heard a deep sigh from behind.  It reminded me of Erma Bombeck’s reason for taking up jogging.  She said she wanted to hear the sound of heavy breathing.  That is not why I joined Rotary, but the sigh caught my attention. I turned to the woman who was following me and asked the obvious, “Is it the holidays?”  Her reply was, “Too much going on.  I can’t wait for this all to be over.”

I am sure we can all relate. From Thanksgiving on, we move from one event or task to another in our professional and personal lives.  We decorate offices and homes; we shop for corporate gifts and family presents; we bake for the office party and cook for family and friends. There are presents to be wrapped and delivered.  In between the shopping, ordering, cooking and planning, there are the endless parties.  Some, like the office party are obligatory; others are purely personal pleasure.

For many of us there is the stress of the trip to the relatives’ house for the holidays, enduring the unfriendly skies or navigating the over-crowded highways. Could be it’s the stress of the relatives coming to visit you.

So the cry goes out, “I can’t wait for this all to be over.”  If you think when the decorations come down and are stored away for another year, when the last of the sugar cookies and fruit cake are gone, the holiday wrapping paper, boxes and other trash are hauled off, the parties are over and the family visits are completed, that you can say, “Whew, that’s over for another year;” you’re wrong.  As Yogi said, “It ain’t over till its over.” And it’s not over until the last thank you note has been sent.

Business notes are every bit as important as personal notes. They differ in only a few ways:

  • More may be at stake—a client relationship and future business.
  • You and your note are a representation of your company.
  • The thank you note is a golden opportunity for building goodwill.
  • Every note has the potential for increasing profits.

How can you create a well-crafted and impressive business thank you note?

  • Personalize your note. Use personal pronouns such as “I” and “you.”
  • Let the contents indicate that the note is written only for the recipient.
  • Be conversational and friendly without going overboard.
  • Check your spelling and grammar.  Your personal pen does not come with a spell checker. When in doubt, enlist the aide of a colleague to proof your note.
  • Handwrite your note, particularly when you are thanking business clients and associates for holiday gifts or events. Penmanship is not an issue unless yours is totally illegible.
  • Send it while your clients, customer and vendors (yes, your vendors) can still remember the holidays, the occasion or the gift.

You can never over-estimate the value of the handwritten thank you note.

Enjoy the fun, festivities and the chaos of the holiday season!

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.