The Art of Saying Thank You

A well-expressed thank-you is an art form. Alas, most of us think we don’t have the time or the talent to play the artist. Perhaps, we put off writing because it’s not a habit we’ve cultivated. Or we feel awkward about finding the right words, or we don’t have a convenient space to sit down and write.

As with so many other creative acts, the secret of writing a successful thank-you lies in finding the right tools, learning a few simple rules to get started, and then getting into the swing of it (i.e. practice, practice, practice) until it becomes natural… even fun.

The Tools: Using the Proper Papers

Start with the proper stationery. Bering’s Stationery has a large selection of fine papers by Crane & Co., William Arthur, Embossed Graphics and others, which can be personalized with your name or business information for a tasteful, polished look.

Keep your stationery handy and the battle is half won. If you have a variety of papers and designs on hand, from elegant letterpress to colorful abstract patterns, you will have the right stationery for any occasion.

Informal Notes – This paper is used for writing brief correspondence, giving thanks for wedding presents or an interview, or responding to informal dinner invitations.

Correspondence Cards – Very much en vogue, these sturdy cards come in varying sizes and are perfect for brief thanks. Select a style to reflect your taste or the occasion.

Formal Letter/Social Sheets – These folded sheets are double the size of informal notes but fold to fit in the same size envelopes. The larger size allows you to expand on your thank-you thoughts or use blank second sheets for a longer letter.

Get Started! How to Write the Perfect Thank-You

Now that you have the tools, find a convenient place to keep them and sit down to write. Three easy steps to remember:

• Name the specific item or favor you are thankful for.
• Highlight why you like it and/or how you will use it.
• Allude to future meetings with the giver when you sign off.

Thank-You Etiquette

A Thank-You Note is Proper. Reply in kind. If the invitation was extended by phone or email, your thank-you should be sent in the same manner. A phone call will also suffice for a brief visit or a spur-of-the-moment dinner. But if you receive a mailed invitation, the formality of your thank-you should be comparable. One rule of thumb is to use the same criteria you use when selecting clothing: determine the purpose and formality of the event and choose appropriate stationery and wording.

A Thank-You Note is Personal. Write it yourself. Your note of appreciation should not be written by your secretary or your spouse. If a child is old enough to write a sentence, they should write their own thank-you notes, not their mother. There are few circumstances that excuse you from personally writing a thank you note.

A Thank-You Note is Meaningful. Give thanks for the memories. Consider a unique detail about the gift or your favorite moment of the party. Then, express your appreciation of it in your own words.

A Thank-You Note is Sincere. Think about what a hand-written thank-you means to you. Never think that anyone is above or below receiving a thank-you note from you, and let your language reflect that belief. Say what you would normally say to a friend. You can be brief, but come across as yourself.

A Thank-You Note is Timely. Always give thanks promptly. Good intentions don’t get the job done, and while everyone intends to express a thank-you, not everyone does. Tardy thanks imply “I was too busy to thank you for your kindness.”

Remember, thank-you tasks can even become fun as you practice consistently, find a variety of appropriate papers, learn the different ways to say thanks, and dare to be original in your expression.

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