How to Write a Thank-You Note

Of all the skills in life, one of the most important – or perhaps useful – is knowing how to properly thank someone. Perhaps you’ll call them up on the telephone or arrange a meeting, or just thank the person for the favor on the spot. If you are shy, a better way to thank someone is to write a thank-you note.

There is an art required to writing a thank-you note. Your note doesn’t have to be original or worthy of publishing in a gold-bound book by any means. It simply has to get the message across in a polite, sincere, tactful way. You don’t have to pour your heart, soul and very essence into your note, you simply have to be considerate and grateful.

The best formula for writing a thank-you (yes, there is a formula) is simple. It goes as follows:

Thank-you note = thanks (specify what for) + why you’re grateful + personal small talk
For example, my birthday is in October, and back in 2009 I wrote this thank-you note to my aunt and uncle, who sent me a pan-flute (also known as a panpipe).

Dear Aunt Jean and Uncle Golf,
Thank you very much for the card, stickers and the awesome pan-flute. I can play part of ‘Hail Britannia’ on it already! It’s really great because it’s portable, and that is a great quality in an instrument (that’s why I don’t play piano!?). Everything is great here, and I’m very excited about Halloween. I hope you guys are doing good up there, because we are down here! Thank you so much, once again. I hope to see you soon.

Much Love and Glad Tidings,
Mary T.

I used a nickname for my uncle (a family nickname), which puts it on a personal level. I thanked them for the gifts I received, and I expressed that I had already tried it out and the meager skills I had used to play on it. I also expressed some of its good qualities. (If you thank someone for a favor, express how much it meant to you, and how it was thoughtful of the person, etc.) Let that person know how you are doing, unless that person is a close friend or neighbor who lives nearby (in this case my aunt and uncle live in a different state). Small talk can be trivial things, like “I am excited for school to let out,” or “My job is going much better than I expected!” Politely wish them well, and you are done!
Now when it comes to writing these thank-you notes, you don’t have to be original. I simply write up one on our computer and then simply change the specifics for each person. It’s not hard; nobody goes around comparing the thank-yous you send to them.

Some tips on how to make an exceptional thank you note are simple, but they can make a difference.

1. Keep in mind who you are writing to. If you are writing to an elderly person, you might want to consider how well their eyesight is; make the font larger if you are on a computer, or if you write by hand use a dark pencil or a pen, as they are easier to read.

2. You don’t want to send a huge piece of paper with only three lines of writing on it. Cut the paper so your note doesn’t seem so lonely, or if you’re writing on a card, draw a little picture or something to take up some room.

3. Personalize it! Sign your name with a special flourish. Write your motto, draw a classic doodle of yours, anything that lets them know it’s you. If you want to be creative, you can design the card or glue a picture down at the bottom of the page.

I have had experience writing thank-you notes all my life, ever since I was old enough to print legibly, it seems (eons ago). Thank-you notes are a good thing to be capable of writing. Used for gifts, college scholarships and applications, favors or chores, 4-H and FFA or anything else, they leave a good impression on those you sent one to. Whether you are required to write thank-you notes or not, sending one is a good way to ensure feelings of well-being and a desire to bestow you with a gift or favor again!

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Andonbray said...
May 25, 2013 at 2:21 pm
When doing sample writing for others, it helps if you use correct grammer yourself. "I hope you guys are doing 'good' up there". Try using "well" instead.  -a teen who knows his grammer...
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