Did a friend do you a favor you could only hope to repay? Did you just get out of a meeting with an important connection at work? It’s time to thank the people who gave you their time by taking the time to show them your appreciation, in the form of a thank-you note. Whether you’re following up after an interview or letting a family member know you appreciate them, here are six steps to writing a thank-you note that will get your gratitude across.
1. Actually Thank Them
This might sound obvious, but it is easy to forget! The entire point of this note is to show your appreciation, so make sure that that is clear from the start. Use phrases like “thank you for…” or “I appreciate how…” and follow them up with exactly what it is that the person did for you. On that note…
2. Include Specific Details
Again, this might sound obvious, but it’s vital that you be specific about what the person you are thanking did for you. Did they give you their time? Did they give you a gift? (If so, what was it?) Did they meet you somewhere? (If so, where?) Did they give you advice? (If so, what was it? In this case, pick a specific piece of advice that meant something to you. There’s no need to hash out the entire conversation in a thank-you note, as long as you are specific about something.)
3. How Did It Make You Feel?
Here is where you get personal, and where your thank-you note will truly shine. In order to make it clear that you really do appreciate whatever it is this person did for you, and that you aren’t just going through the motions of thanking them, tell them how what they did made you feel. Do you feel happy? Appreciated? Supported? Encouraged? Loved? People like to feel that they’ve had a positive impact on you, so specificity is once again key here.
4. Sign Off With Well Wishes
This is a must-do for letters in general, and especially with thank-you notes. This person did something for you, and you want good things to happen to them, too! Phrases like “I wish you the best of luck with…” or “I hope you are having a wonderful day” are good, and it’s always nice to tell someone that you hope your paths will cross again in the future.
5. Write It Out
I recommend typing up your thank-you note first, so that spellcheck can help you out and you can more easily make draft edits. But after you have the thank-you note worded the way you want it, it’s time to hand-write it! As communication becomes increasingly digital, a hand-written note stands out as a sign that you put thought, time, and effort into expressing your gratitude. Go to a store and buy a nice card and envelope. Use a pen to write the note, and take your time while writing to avoid mistakes!
If you’re going to see the person again in the next couple days, feel free to hand the card to them in person. Otherwise, look up their address and send it in the mail. If you put the thank-you card in the mail the day after the person did the thing you’re thanking them for, it will arrive just in time to give them a pleasant reminder!
Congratulations, you just wrote a terrific thank-you note!
Need an example of steps one through four in action? Here is a thank-you note for a hypothetical situation in which my mother took me to a restaurant and we talked about my future.
I wanted to thank you for treating me to lunch at One World the other day. It was great to get to spend some time with you; it’s been too long, and your advice and support about my future as always left me feeling loved and supported! I hope you are having a wonderful day, and I look forward to seeing you again soon.