Handwritten thank-you notes
When was the last time you received a hand written thank-you note in the mail? It's been a while, hasn't it? And most likely, it was written by someone in your life of another generation -- from a time before email and texting, when the best and most proper way to say thanks was to take the time to write a note and put it in the mail. Take these easy steps toward making thank-you note writing a habit.
Make it easy on yourself
Stock up on cards that you love and that you'll actually use! Whether it's a big box of colorful mix-and-match cards that you can use for both professional and personal thank-yous or a beautiful set of custom stationery that shows your personal style, buy whatever will motivate and excite you to get them written.
Set up an address book
Again, we aren't talking about email addresses, but real, true physical addresses for your friends and family members. Most smartphones have excellent digital address book programs, or try downloading an address book app -- you can even keep addresses on your Kindle. It doesn't matter how you keep them, just get them!
Learning how to say thank you
There is truly nothing simpler in life than saying thank you and it's amazing how those two little words can make someone else feel so valued and appreciated. Start your note with something like, "I wanted to tell you thank you for ..." or "Just a little note to say thanks for ..." -- it's really that easy! If you are saying thank you for a gift that you received, be sure to say something specific about the gift in the note, such as "The scarf is just what I'd been looking for and goes perfectly with the shoes I bought myself for my birthday."
Say thank you for the little things
Once the basics of thank-you note writing have become habit, take the leap into looking for ways to say thanks. Did your neighbor bring in your garbage cans last week when it was pouring rain? Or was your pediatrician extra-kind to you when you were certain that your daughter had another ear infection? Drop a little thank-you in the mail -- it will make their day.
Be timely with your thanks
It's best to write thank-you notes right away, while the reason you're saying thanks and the appreciation you feel is still fresh in your mind. Being prompt about saying thank you is especially important if someone has mailed or left you a gift -- they are probably anxious to know that you received (and liked!) it, and a thank-you note dropped in the mail as soon as possible is the perfect way to let them know. That said, it's also never too late to send a thank-you note.
Writing professional thank-yous
If you're in a business where you're working with clients, thank-you notes should be part of your daily routine and a hand-written, personal note (as opposed to a form letter thank-you with your signature stamped at the bottom by your assistant), goes a long way. It's also another great chance to reconnect with a client and remind them that you're available if they need any assistance.
Teach your children to say thank you
Can you imagine how far gone the art of writing thank-you notes will be by the time they are grown? Make writing thank-you notes part of your children's lives as well -- not only will they learn a skill that will stick with them for life, but it's a perfect lesson in manners and treating other people with kindness and appreciation.