Subscribe to Inc. magazine

How to Write a Thank-You Note That Matters

Thank-you notes are so rare in this digital age that a good one makes a huge impression. Here's how to write one.

I work with some of the nation’s top marketing communications professionals. Every day. So you might think I receive a constant stream of well-crafted, even artful follow-up correspondence. Or maybe just thank-you notes that feature correct spelling.

If only that were true.

It is scary how few people take the time to say “thank you.” The notes I do receive often have typos and grammatical mistakes, even though they’re sent by professionals in a line of work where perfect copy ought to be second nature. This doesn’t build my confidence in them, and it doesn’t do much to help build the type of relationship they intended.

There’s no faster way to create a positive impression than with a handwritten note or card. For your employees. For partners. For customers. Keep some simple, professional correspondence cards handy. Then push away the keyboard and write one or two sentences -- by hand.

A masterful thank you is so rare in this digital age that it speaks volumes about the sender. Rarer still is a handwritten note from a business owner or executive. When the sender is a busy executive, handwritten notes are so remarkable that they easily earn awe and admiration.

It’s perhaps a reflection on the state of working professionals right now that one of the nicest, most memorable thank you notes I’ve received recently was from a college student. It was emailed, but it still stood out.

My son attends the University of Southern California. One of his fraternity brothers, Stephen, is interested in a marketing career, so my son introduced him to me. I looked at Stephen’s resume and offered some suggestions. Stephen is interested in speechwriting, so I introduced him to someone who is experienced in that area.

In return, I received a lovely voicemail message and a thoughtful thank-you note that covered:

  • The thank you
  • A stated desire to stay in touch with me
  • A brief reminder of his tremendous experience
  • Appreciation for the introduction I made for him
  • A compliment about my son—always the quickest way to a mother’s heart

I know Stephen is still in college, but this young man is smart and savvy. You can bet I’ll be happy to give him my attention any time --no matter how busy I am. Working professionals can learn from Stephen’s example.

Want to knock some socks off today? Write a meaningful thank you email or, better, send a handwritten note.

Last updated: Jan 11, 2012

RENE SHIMADA SIEGEL | Columnist | Founder, High Tech Connect

Rene Shimada Siegel is founder and president of High Tech Connect, a unique consulting partner for expert marketing and communications. After a successful career in Silicon Valley, she founded her company 15 years ago while juggling three kids under the age of five.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

Register on today to get full access to:
All articles  |  Magazine archives | Livestream events | Comments

Or sign up using: