Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Art of Writing a Thank-you Note

Small Expressions of Appreciation by Debbie Roome
When I was a child, I was always made to write thank-you letters for birthday and Christmas gifts. In those days, my notes were handwritten on pretty stationery with lines underneath to keep me straight. I used to find it tedious, but looking back, I am thankful my mother trained me to be appreciative.

Have we Lost the Art of Writing our Thanks
While anyone can write a thank-you letter, some people have the ability to write something extra special. These type of notes are normally personal and meaningful to the recipient. As writers this is something we should make an effort to do as the results can be far greater than we might expect.

Thank-you Notes are of Value to the Recipient
I have a box full of thank-you notes and emails I’ve received over the years. Every so often I have look through them and they always inspire and uplift. It takes effort to sit down and compose a letter or write out a card but it is worth it for giver and recipient.

Results of a Recent Thank-you I Wrote
In June I had the embarrassing experience of passing out just before my flight took off for Wellington. The sad tale is on my blog if you’d like to know the gory details. Anyway, the cabin crew member who initially looked after me was wonderful. I wrote to Air New Zealand that night and asked them to pass on my thanks to her. I mentioned her compassion and caring as she sat next to me on the aircraft, giving me oxygen and taking my pulse.

A few weeks later I was on a flight to Auckland and this flight attendant was on duty. She recognised me and called me by name as I entered the aircraft. We couldn’t talk then but when refreshments were being handed out, she came and took over from the person serving me. While she poured my coffee she said she was so pleased to see me again. The airline had passed on my message and it had counted towards her performance review which had been in the week following the incident. She said it really made a difference and she asked how I’d been keeping.

It was an extremely positive experience for both of us and I was pleased to be able to thank her properly face to face. The last time I saw her I was in a wheelchair, wrapped in blankets, dizzy and half conscious.

Writing thank-you notes doesn’t have to be reserved for big events. A quick email to say you enjoyed a coffee date or a card to say thanks for a birthday present can mean so much to the other person. My challenge to you this week is to write a thank you to at least one person. Then if you’d like to, come back and leave a comment and share the experience with us.

Debbie Roome works as a freelance writer from her home in New Zealand. Visit her at Debbie Roome or read some of her work at Suite 101, Associated Content and Faithwriters.

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