One of my favorite segments on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon is when he writes out his weekly thank you notes. You don’t need to be a talk show host to write notes. Thank you notes have increasingly become a lost art form. There are a few scenarios where thank you notes are still often used such as wedding gifts, high school graduation, and job interviews. Yet, outside of job interviews, handwritten thank you notes have largely gone the way of the horse drawn carriage in professional settings. As I’ve taken on more administrative work over the past couple of years, I have started writing more and more thank you notes. Writing these notes can be time consuming, but I highly recommend that you take the time to write them too.
Thank you notes can have a powerful impact on both you and the recipient. I believe there are 6 benefits from writing thank you notes.
1. Set yourself apart. You can set yourself apart by writing thank you notes as fewer people write them. We fondly remember someone who sends us a nice thank you note. I believe this is particularly true in professional settings where there is less social stigma about not sending notes. As a result, when you receive a note you know the person appreciates you and isn’t just sending a note out of obligation.
2. Build stronger relationships. Writing a thank you note can build stronger relationships between people. This is one of my primary reasons for sending notes. Frequently, I’m writing a note to thank someone for doing something for me or my program. For nearly anything we want to do on campus, we need partners to help. This requires strong relationships and thank you notes are a great way to cement these important connections.
3. Makes you happier. Studies have found that writing a letter of gratitude can make you a happier person. Not only the moment of writing can make us happier, but for weeks after people who write thank you notes receive positive mental benefits. Any time we offer thanks it helps reminds us of the blessing of having someone help us. Feeling blue? Send a thank you note to perk up your day!
4. Show that you are organized and thorough. In order to write thank you notes, you have to be proactive, organized, and thorough. You have to remember to send the note and have the time to sit down and write it. If you’re always late, running to the next meeting, and generally unorganized, the odds of you writing a thank you note are pretty small. As a result, recipients of your thank you notes will assume you to be an organized and thorough professional (and they’ll likely be correct).
5. Permanent reminder. On more than one occasion, I have visited someone’s office and seen that they’ve displayed one of my thank you notes. People value receiving them and get so few that often they keep one when they receive it. This serves as a wonderful permanent reminder of your relationship and gratitude.
6. Say thanks. This one is obvious, but can’t be overstated. Thank you notes share our gratitude and appreciation for another person. This small act can make such a difference. There’s no better way to spend your time.
From large events to daily projects, we often rely on other people. Expressing our thanks for the help they provide is just a small token, but one that can prove powerful.