The “Thank You Note” of Note

There has been much focus recently about the lost art of the handwritten thank-you note. Many of us have lowered our standards to accepting a text that says “thank you”.  Sorry folks; that doesn’t cut it.

I strenuously propose that we reverse the trend. Let’s stop making excuses for people who won’t (not “can’t”) take the time to express appreciation and acknowledgement.  In this era of reputation management, having a reputation for NOT being appreciative could be costly.

My Universal Thank you Note Plan:

Written Thank You Note Creation Value Reputation Management Susan RoAne

1. Add the teaching of the art of the written thank you note into middle school language arts curriculum. I taught language arts and that included teaching “friendly letter form” used for thank you notes and “business letter form” .

A parent of a student in a special gifted summer school class I taught told me that after taking my class,  her son wrote her his first note from camp. “He used the correct friendly letter form you taught him… ask me for money!”  As  you can imagine, Janet had mixed feelings. She was thrilled he learned a tangible skill from me that would serve him well.  She wasn’t that thrilled he used it to ask for money. Oh…she sent him the money.  “How could I refuse such a well-written plea?”

2. Spend at least 2 lessons reconfirming the format, structure and syntax of thank you notes in a high school English class.

3. Add the importance of thank you notes and the situations that merit them in the life-skills high school curriculum.

4.  Role model this important behavior by putting pen to note paper and write 2- 3 sentences of appreciation to people. We often teach people by role-modeling the behavior we want to reinforce.

5.  Career centers and classes must include the importance and structure of the thank-you note in their workshops.


The Sample To Use as a Boilerplate

A client for whom I was giving a webinar recently asked me to create a Do/Don’t Thank you note document because “people need an example.”  It took me back to my teaching career. In The Secrets of Savvy Networking, I included samples of notes so this request was easy to fulfill.

Must be HANDWRITTEN, of course!  (not a facsimile font)


Dear  John,   (The Less formal greeting is “Hi John” may work but it’s a case by case decision).

             You were so generous to introduce me to Mick Jogger, a fellow marathoner.

      I know how busy you are with the projects and boards you are on and so appreciate that you took the time to do it.

             I have already been in touch with him and we have scheduled a Skype call.

             Thank you very much for your efforts on my behalf.

             Sincerely (Gratefully/Appreciatively/Sincerely/Best Regards),

             Lily Louis

Notice The Format

The first sentence is about the receiver NOT the sender and starts with “YOU”.

Appreciation is expressed.

A brief “update” about the follow-up to the intro follows.

And the Magic Phrase —“Thank you” starts the closing sentence.



“Fill in the blank” cards.

Writing less than 3 sentences.

Waiting longer than 2 weeks to acknowledge.

Thinking it’s too late to send a thank you note; it never is.    (Better late than never).


BONUS: The response to “thank you” is NOT “no worries” or “no problem. What do you think it is?


Based on The Secrets of Savvy Networking by Warner/GrandCentral Publishers.   @SusanRoAne

About Susan RoAne

Susan RoAne leads a double life as a sought-after professional keynote speaker and a bestselling author. Known as The Mingling Maven®, she gives diverse audiences the required tools, techniques and strategies they need to connect and communicate in today’s global business world. The San Francisco Chronicle says she has a “dynamite sense of humor.” To hire Susan to speak for your company, association or college, 1.415.461.3915