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[Infographic] 8 easy ways to send a quick thank-you note

This post will cover 8 easy ways to send a thank-you note. Some are quicker than others. For example, a handwritten note might take 5 minutes where an instant message can be written and sent in 10 seconds.

Note: The contents of this post have been adapted from the chapter “Q&A: WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO DELIVER THE THANK-YOU NOTE?” in my book, A Modern Guide to Writing Thank-You Notes.

I usually prefer a handwritten thank-you note for most situations. Other options include in-person, instant message, text message, email, social media, on the phone, in person, and online services. All have their place.

Ultimately, you will need to decide which method is right for your situation, knowing that sometimes people will disagree with your choice.

Also, at times, more than one method can be used. For example, you can send a handwritten thank-you note immediately after you receive a gift. Then follow up with another method with a picture of you using the gift.

8 Easy Ways to send a thank you note

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1. THE HANDWRITTEN THANK-YOU NOTE

Handwritten thank-you notes can have several advantages over other methods of saying thank you.

  1. First, you spend extra time to choose a card and handwrite it. Most people appreciate this effort and are also pleasantly surprised when they find anything handwritten in their mailbox. Do you remember the last time you received a handwritten letter or note?
  2. Handwriting the note also forces you to slow down and choose your words carefully. There is not a backspace key. Once the words are on paper, they are permanent.
  3. The recipient may also display the thank-you note card on their desk or perhaps, on a bulletin board in their office. The note card becomes a physical reminder of our gratitude.

If you are thinking no one writes thank-you notes anymore, there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. There are many card companies that still sell thank-you note cards. Take a look the next time you are at a major retail store. Their card section very likely has boxes of thank-you note cards.

If no one bought cards, companies would stop selling them. Minted offers many high-quality thank-you cards! And my mom has used Current Catalog cards for more than 45 years! Current Catalog Coupon codes can be found here.

For more formal events like weddings and high school graduation parties, I strongly recommend handwritten notes, especially if guests were invited to the event with a mailed invitation.

Note: if you have a condition (arthritis, disability, other hand issues, etc.) that leaves you unable to write, please use whatever method you can to thank someone. The encouragement to write handwritten notes is intended for those that are physically able to handwrite.

2. IN PERSON

When someone hands you a gift or does something for you, you can tell them “thanks” on the spot. I often do this when someone helps me with a problem at the office.

The verbal thanks can feel very casual, however. Saying “thanks” or “thank-you” has become an automatic response. If I am thanking someone in person, I try to personalize it just a bit more by saying how he or she specifically helped me. For example: “You really saved me a lot of time.”

3. INSTANT MESSAGING

At my office, we use instant messaging software to communicate throughout the day. While receiving instant messages can often feel like an interruption, it’s nice when the message includes a thank you! Wait until the recipient’s status is “available” before sending the instant message.

Sending a full-length thank-you note in an instant message may feel awkward, so I would recommend sending an email or handwriting a note if you have a lot to say. However, a quick “Thank you!” message sent immediately after someone does something for you will likely be appreciated.

4. TEXT MESSAGING

A thank you can be sent very quickly with a text message if you know the person’s mobile phone number. You can also send a picture of the gift you received in action (when applicable). For example, if someone gave your child an outfit, you could send them a picture of the child wearing the outfit.

Also, a text message thank you is useful for less formal gifts or occasions. Perhaps, a friend decided to treat you to lunch. If it is a friend you see often, you could send a thank-you text. If someone gave you a gift card to a restaurant, you can send them a text with a picture of what you ordered.

5. EMAIL

If you do not know someone’s home (or office) address and do not feel comfortable asking for it, sending an email thank you is an option. Also, if email is your primary way of communicating with someone, thanking them via an email can be a good choice. If you prefer to send a handwritten note and just in their address, read about my top tips for finding addresses.

Email works well in office settings where you would prefer to not hand deliver a written thank-you card to them, or if the person works in a different location. However, if someone is in a different office location, they may be impressed if you took the time to find their office address.

When I was Employee of the Month, I wanted to thank the vice-president who was responsible for the monetary award that came with the title. She works from her home office in a different state. To surprise her, I was able to get her address from her assistant. Her assistant later told me that the vice president was very impressed that I mailed a thank-you note. I have a feeling she doesn’t get very many thank-you notes from other Employee of the Month recipients.

Email can also be used when sending a thank-you note following a job interview. For some interviews, a handwritten thank-you note is going to be best. Please refer to the post job interview post for tips on when to mail vs. email the note.

5a. AUTOMATED THANK-YOU EMAILS

Businesses may send out automated emails after a visit or a purchase. For example, I receive an automated thank-you email from my veterinarian’s office after I take a cat in for a check. I suppose this is nice in a way, but after you get a few of them, they feel a bit meaningless. They look and feel automated.

Sure, it’s nice to get an automated thank-you email, but with people receiving more emails than ever before in history, the thank-you note email may never be read. And it may not make the customers feel appreciated when it’s obviously automated. One way to make it feel less automated (while still using a form) is to include the person’s name, the name of the pet, what was purchased, etc.

6. PHONE

Calling someone on the phone and thanking them is another option. With email, text messaging, and social media, phone calls happen less and less. I do not recommend leaving your “thank you” in a voice mail/message if the person doesn’t answer. Request for them to call you back.

The reason for calling is to have a conversation! They will likely be delighted to receive a phone call that isn’t a survey, sales call, or someone wanting something!

7. SOCIAL MEDIA

Use social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) when you want to publicly thank someone. This could be to thank a cookbook author for a great recipe or to acknowledge the person in some way that will help promote their service or product.

Social media is great for a quick thank you. You can thank someone for dinner on Facebook and still follow up with a handwritten note.

When thanking on social media, the thank you may look like bragging, so choose your words carefully and determine if another method would be more appropriate. Don’t use the thank you as a way to show off!

8. ONLINE SERVICES

There are two types of online services for writing thanking you notes.

  • There are sites like Postable.com, where you can write the thank-you note while logged into their website. Then they print it and mail it for you. This type of service usually offers an online address book where you can store the names and address of your contacts for free. Another benefit is that it removes the hassle of buying stamps.
  • If you still want a handwritten note but don’t want to write it yourself, there are services like MailLift.com. You provide them with the text, and then they will handwrite the note for you. This model may work best for businesses where the note can be from a team. Be aware: If the note is signed with your name, people may feel misled if they find out you didn’t write the note yourself.

Conclusion

I hope this post encourages you to thank someone today using one of these 8 ways to send a thank-you. If writing a handwritten note feels like too much effort, don’t let that be a barrier.

Use one of the other methods which will be a bit quicker. If you are not sure what to say in a thank-you note browse the contents of this site to find examples, or grab a copy of my book on Amazon. This post will show you how to write a thank you note.

“Meaning to send a thank-you note but then not doing it is exactly the same as never thinking to send one — that person is still receiving zero thank you notes.” ― Kelly Williams Brown, Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps

Note: The contents of this post have been adapted from the chapter “Q&A: WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO DELIVER THE THANK-YOU NOTE?” in my book, A Modern Guide to Writing Thank-You Notes.

Who can you send a thank-you note to today?

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