People appreciate thank you notes. This isn’t breaking news. But, that didn’t stop the New York Times from publishing a piece explaining why You Should Actually Send that Thank You Note You’ve Been Meaning to Write. Even those who follow etiquette tend to underestimate how the thank you note matters in business. Sometimes, this is even enough to stop them from expressing thanks.
Rather than just tick a box and send a thank you, check out why taking the extra time is more meaningful than you realize.
The Message is More than Thanks
Obviously, a thank you note expresses appreciation and gratitude for something given or shared. This can be a referral, a tab, time spent brainstorming over the phone or in-person, a new office gift… the list is practically endless. Smart business owners recognize much of their success depends on the support of their colleagues. Smarter business owners make it a point to recognize help when it has been given.
In addition to gratitude, a prompt thank you note indicates an organized and thoughtful approach to professional interactions. And while an email might do the trick, research has shown that handwritten thank you notes really resonate with recipients.
Take Note of the Numbers
Dr. Amit Kumar at the University of Texas at Austin launched a study focused on the exchange of thank you cards and how recipients reacted to them. He observed that “… after receiving thank-you notes and filling out questionnaires about how it felt to get them, many said they were “ecstatic,” scoring the happiness rating at 4 of 5.”
So, why don’t more people send thank you notes, especially if they themselves feel “ecstatic” to receive them?
Because, as Dr. Kumar also found, “The senders typically guessed they’d evoke a 3.”
But, why is this the case?
“Along with underestimating the value of sending a note to another person, many seemed to be concerned with how much their writing would be scrutinized.”
In other words, rather than focusing on the sentiment, many people spend too much time worrying about what to say and how to say it. They self-censor to the point of minimizing the positive impact on the recipient, sometimes failing to express thanks at all.
Mind Your Manners
The reality of Dr. Kumar’s study shows that the majority of people who receive a thank you card really don’t fret about its phrasing. Instead, they appreciate the time it took, ultimately giving the sender higher marks for their writing ability than the sender anticipated.
Rather than rob your recipient of the good feelings associated with being acknowledged and appreciated, put your thoughts down and send that thank you note.
In order to send a timely thank you note, it helps to be prepared. Set aside a little station with all the necessary supplies. Whether a folder, desk drawer, basket or bin in your office, load it up with stationary (branded to represent your business is best) and stamps so that penning out a note is always within easy reach.
Channel your inner Emily Post and bring back the handwritten thank you note in your business!