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The power of a handwritten thank you note


By Michelle Post

I received a handwritten thank you note after one training class, and I did not recognize the return address. I opened the thank you card and was overwhelmed by the words of the writer. He was thanking me for the class he just attended. It was not a long note, but it was a powerful note because this person took the time to say thank you. Even as I recall the story, I am still humbled, and tears fill my eyes as I think of that thank you note.

My mail routine is to bring the mail in, stand at the kitchen counter and sort it so I can deal with it at once. However, as I came to the thank you note, I slowed down. I turned the note side-to-side trying to recall who the sender was. I opened the note with anticipated excitement. As I read the note, my heart filled with gratitude. I showed it to my husband for I was so proud of it. It was the same experience I had when I would bring a good report card home. Look what I received, how precious a moment it was for me.

This concept is not new and has been written about more than 10,000 times according to Google. In today’s 24/7 society where everyone can voice an opinion quickly due to email and social media networks, the power of a handwritten thank you note stopped me in my daily “hurry up” routine. Google’s statistics show me how important this simple task of stopping, reflecting and saying the two simple words, “thank you” in a note can be. My parents taught me the importance of saying thank you after someone did something for me; however, I did not realize how saying thank you via a small note could have a lasting impression.

Creating a habit of sending a thank you note after a meeting could be stressful; however, it need not be. I contacted the person who sent me the card and thanked him for making my day. He told me how he learned about the importance of sending a thank you card from training he took. He told me he keeps several thank you cards and stamps with him always. After a meeting and before the next one, he takes five minutes to write the card. He then drops it in the mail on his way home. I said, “It’s that simple?” He said, “Yes, and it is amazing how it sets me apart from my competitors, people remember me.” He continued to say, “It is not about setting me apart from the competition, it is about being kind and appreciating the gift of time from the person I was meeting. I think sending the thank you note empowers me more than the person receiving it.”

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