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How to Craft a Well-Written and Professional Thank You Letter

How to Craft a Well-Written and Professional Thank You Letter

The holiday season, the end of a quarter, and the beginning of a new year always call for moments of gratitude. We are blessed with gifts, favors, acts of kindness, promotions or raises, wise advice, and much more during these busy times. To truly show our appreciation, writing thank you notes and letters makes showing our gratitude more tangible, impactful, and personal. 

Unfortunately, only about 15% of people regularly say thank you at work. In most workplaces, there is quite a gratitude gap. May professionals refrain from showing appreciation and thanks because they do not like to admit that they need assistance at their job. Our independence and egos can sometimes get in the way of collaborating, learning from our peers, building a strong team, and developing our skills and talents.

We can actively work to show more gratitude in the workplace through our actions and words, yet personal letters often win in making someone feel truly appreciated. Since December 26th is National Thank You Note Day, now is the time to dive into what constitutes a quality thank you letter and how we can hit the nail on the head whenever writing letters.

Benefits of Showing Gratitude At Work

Showing gratitude is not only beneficial to recipients but it is also beneficial to those expressing gratitude! Thankfulness and appreciation are essential to a happy, motivated, and healthy team.

Organizations that prioritize gratitude experience increased engagement, higher productivity, and greater motivation. With this comes better employee retention through boosted morale and loyalty.

Team members also provide better customer service when their efforts are continually praised by management and gratitude is exchanged between customers and employees. Teams become stronger in their shared vision as their values are actively appreciated and affirmed at work.

Practicing gratitude also drastically improves health and well-being—those who express gratitude experience higher self-esteem and confidence which allows for better and confident decision-making at work. Gratitude is also known to decrease levels of anxiety and depression and make us less susceptible to sickness. Professionals who practice gratitude report fewer sick days!

Leaders who express gratitude reap all of the benefits above, yet they have the power to make employees feel valued and cherished. According to ccl.org, “emotional intelligence is closely linked to leadership effectiveness,” therefore the more genuine gratitude you can express, the better leader you will become.

When Should I Send a Thank You Note?

Professional thank you letters should be sent to bosses, managers, employees, coworkers, clients, customers, and event hosts. Here are some situations and people to consider crafting thank you notes for!

Career advancement opportunities

  • After a job interview. An email  will suffice but a physical card or note will help you stand out
  • To social or networking event hosts
  • To a mentor you have learned a lot from
  • After receiving a raise or promotion. Send a letter to your employer and leaders who helped make it happen
  • After networking and connecting with someone
  • After someone writes a letter of recommendation for you

Acts of kindness and support

  • After a life event when coworkers showered you with support or gifts (marriage, work anniversary, baby shower, illness, loss)
  • To your assistant
  • To work friends who do you favors or simply make your days brighter
  • To supportive bosses

Other occasions and people to consider…

  • To janitorial staff or people who keep the office in shape
  • After a casual meeting over coffee or lunch
  • After quitting your job or when someone is leaving the organization
  • After a business lunch or dinner
  • To customers - thank them for their business. This supports good customer retention!

Structure of a Thank You Letter

A template such as the one below is foolproof, yet the real key to a well-written thank you note is sincerity and personalization, so don’t be afraid to stray from the format and write what will connect more with your recipient. Whether it is an email, card, or letter, this template works in every scenario.

1. Greeting

    Start the letter off by formally addressing the recipient by using their full name or their title and last name.


    “Dear __ __,”

    “Dear Dr. ___,”

     

    2. Thank you

    Jump right into sharing your gratitude. Thank them for their gift, wisdom, help, support, etc. Be sure to use expressive words to emulate how thankful you are for their contribution.


    “I want to express how much I value…”

    “I am incredibly grateful for…”

     

    3. What their generosity meant to you

    Briefly describe how their gift or action affected you and how it made you feel. You can go into detail about how you intend to use their gift and how it will benefit you.

     

    4. Compliment the recipient and mention the making of plans to see each other or speak again

    To help keep the relationship going, talk about a quality that you admire in the recipient and express your desire to speak or see each other again. If you will not be meeting the person again, you can leave this section out of your letter.

     

    5. Thank again

    Add a last sentence to thank them again. It is your reason for writing after all so it is imperative that they feel appreciated.

     

    6. Sign-off

    Complete your letter with a formal or semi-formal salutation.


    “Sincerely,”

    “Best regards,”

    “Cordially,”


    General Thank You Letter Rules

    1. Send within 2 days if possible. If it is more urgent, consider sending an email. If the thank you can wait, make sure to get the letter in the mail within 48 hours.
    2. Keep it concise. Make the letter meaningful yet specific
    3. Write it by hand. When possible, make your letter or card more personal by hand-writing it.
    4. Understand the recipient and their company culture. Include sentiments that align with the way they operate and don’t be afraid to mention any values you are certain you both share to help strengthen the relationship.
    5. Watch your tone. Try to use “you..” instead of “I..” to focus on the recipient and their talents rather than your benefits. No matter your relationship with the recipient, the letter should always have a professional tone.
    6. Address them appropriately (first and last name).
    7. Proofread before sending.
    8. Mention particular moments or special topics that connect you to the recipient to make the card more impactful.

    Other ways you can show/practice gratitude

    Gratitude is a gift that keeps on giving. When you’re not writing thank you notes, here are some ways to continue practicing gratitude:

    • Keep a gratitude journal to jot down what you’re thankful for
    • Send regular instant messages or emails to express gratitude when you recognize it
    • Carve out time during meetings to express gratitude or appreciation and encourage coworkers to give each other shout-outs
    •  Try to always find the silver lining in tough times. Keeping a growth mindset helps us appreciate challenges and find opportunities in relationships

    _________

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