Current News

How to Say Thank You

We probably don't write thank you messages because they are not required. With all the reports, requests, responses, announcements, proposals, and other messages we must write, who has time to write thank you messages?
But expressing our appreciation is essential. If we want to develop rewarding long-term business relationships, we must write thank you messages. Luckily, thank you messages are among the easiest messages to write.
Here are some suggestions and examples.
1. Know when to write.

You have an opportunity to say thank you any time someone has: 
• Delivered particularly good service.
• Gone beyond the job requirements for you.
• Been especially thoughtful, prompt, or efficient.
• Given you an opportunity (an interview, a referral, etc.).
• Given you a gift or treated you to a meal.
• Been a special pleasure to work with.
• Consistently met or exceeded expectations.

In seminars, people often ask me about writing just the two words "Thank you" in an email when they receive routine service from someone. I vote no. When someone completes a simple task that is part of the job,
a thank you becomes just another email to delete.
Example: If someone forwards you a routine report from her manager, do not email a thank you. But if she forwards a useful link about an area of interest to you, write something like this: "Gayle, I appreciate this link.
It looks as though the site has some excellent information I can use in my presentation. Thanks for thinking of me."
2. Write promptly. ?Although a thank you is welcome anytime, writing promptly makes the writing easier because the details are fresh in your mind. In the message below, Marie refers to specific details she might forget in a few days:
Dear Sam,
Thank you for all your work on today's web conference. It could not have happened without you.
Through your planning, the program went beautifully. I appreciate the tactful way you handled my problem with the microphone. Your transition between the segments was very smooth. Your attention to
detail and high standards were evident throughout the program.
Because of your efforts, Sam, we presented a professional image to potential clients. I am very grateful to you for your work on this event.
Best regards,
?3. Say thank you sincerely and specifically.
Name specific things you are grateful for. That kind of thank you has much more power than an empty "Good job. Thanks." Also noted were Sam’s efforts in helping to convey a professional image to potential clients.
Whenever possible, it's wise to mention the positive effect of the person's contribution.
4. Say thank you warmly.
Always use the other person's name and the personal pronouns I and we. For instance, write "I [or We] appreciate your artistry"--not "Your artistry is appreciated."
5. Choose the right format--email, letter, note, or card.

Features of email:
• Is right for someone who is regularly on a computer.
• Does not stand out as special or individual.
• Is perceived as informal.
• Is quick to write, send, and forward.
• Can be any length, from one or two sentences to several paragraphs.

Features of a typed letter or memo:
• Is suitable to acknowledge a donation or contribution of money or goods.
• Fits well to thank someone for significant help or great customer service.
• Is right when the thank you may end up in a personnel file.
• Must be at least two paragraphs.

Features of a handwritten card or note:
• Communicates a personal touch.
• Is a perfect response to a meal, flowers, gift, or personal help.
• Is short, typically from two sentences to two paragraphs.

6. Match the effort to the reason for the thank you. ?A thank you that doesn't match the situation can be worse than no thank you at all. For instance, a two-word thank you is cruel in response to a 10-page report. A two-sentence thank you is stingy to a person who spent two
weekends completing an inventory. On the other hand, two paragraphs of thanks are excessive to someone who provided a ride to the subway.
7. Say thank you without saying "please."
When you say thanks, do not ask for anything. Asking detracts from your thank you and suggests that gratitude is not the real reason for your message.
8. Say thanks graciously--without a hint of negativity.
Do not mention anything that will detract from your theme of appreciation. For example, if you are thanking someone for heroic efforts in making travel arrangements for you, do not mention that your trip has been cancelled.
Instead just say thank you:
Joan, you were terrific to help me with all the arrangements for my trip to Tokyo. I know you were extremely busy, and I am very grateful that you dropped everything and focused on my urgent need. You were patient,
good-natured, and very efficient.
I appreciate all your hard work on my behalf. Thank you!
9. Say thank you in your own voice. ?Write thank you messages that sound like you--not like something out of an etiquette book. Tell your own story. Use your own language.

Ellen Reddick, is a consultant, writer, and former senior executive with more than 25 years experience in the technology industry. She is the managing partner of Impact Factory Utah a firm that provides strategic consulting, executive coaching, and speaking services to CEOs and management teams to companies.  She brings a broad base of experience in people management, sales, process improvement, customer service training and project management. She is a certified facilitator
and mediator.

Ellen Reddick