Tag Archives: handwritten 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.

 

 

 

Business Etiquette: The Power of the Apology

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We all make mistakes, but often it’s hard to admit them and more difficult yet to say the words, “I’m sorry.”  When you have offended a business associate or client, a sincere apology is essential if you wish to continue the relationship and move forward.  Just as importantly, it is a clear demonstration of good business etiquette and workplace manners.

Sometimes the spoken words are enough; sometimes they’re not. You may need to send a handwritten note. Depending on the offense and the relationship, a gift may be in order.

The most important thing is to apologize immediately.  If you are with the person at the time of the offense—perhaps you have made an ill-chosen remark—say you are sorry right away.

If you find out after the fact that you have wronged someone, call or visit the person as soon as possible. Don’t let any time elapse before you apologize.

The longer you wait the more difficult it will become and the less sincere you will seem.  The harm you may have done will solidify with the passage of time unless you react with speed.

The spoken word is rarely enough.  After you have said, “I’m sorry,” go on record with a note that offers lasting proof of your sincerity.  The extra effort will serve you well.

There are times when a small gift accompanying your apology is appropriate.  Flowers and candy are the most traditional way to show regret. However, when you can personalize your gift and tailor it to the recipient, it will have a greater impact.

It is never too late to ask forgiveness.  Chances are the person you offended still remembers and will appreciate your effort to set things right.

No matter what the circumstances that caused the problem, no one wants or needs to hear a list of excuses.  Maybe you had just had a root canal when you uttered that thoughtless comment—it doesn’t matter and should not be part of your apology.

If you are tempted to send an e-mail to express your regret, don’t.  E-mail communication may be speedy, but it is too impersonal and lacks sincerity when you are begging forgiveness.

No matter how you decide to make amends, keep in mind the three basics of business etiquette: courtesy, kindness and respect for others. A sincere apology will carry you further than a speeding BMW.

Photo from Savannah magazineHire 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.