Notes of Thanks

I’ve been thinking about thank-you notes. (I’m writing a few right now.) My parents made me write them when I was younger. I’m grateful for that life lesson.

There’s just something about a hand-written note. I’m not sure why they can be more meaningful than a verbal or online message. Is it the tactile nature of the paper? Is it the knowledge of time spent with pen and paper? I just don’t know.

Personally, there is value in a small card with its hand-inked message of gratitude. Years ago I received a hand-written thank-you note from the general manager of an amusement park. (Previously, I had written the park a letter to tell them about an especially exciting visit.) I still have that card.

About a decade ago, I learned that the thank-you note could be the most important tool in a manager’s tool box. I was working in a production/packaging environment, and the company gave each of its leaders a recognition “tool kit” and budget. We could reward our team members in a variety of ways, many of which cost money. The thank-you note, however, was free. We were highly encouraged to write them. If we wrote a thank-you note, we could give the recipient a candy bar, too. The candy was not charged to our recognition budget. You might think the candy bars should be more popular than the notes, but they weren’t.

It’s a story that I’ve shared with a number of subsequent managers in other companies. Far too often, those managers laughed off the idea as a ridiculous notion. Too bad. They missed the point and the power of the thank-you note.

I’d better get back to writing some thank-you notes. Perhaps I should send one to my parents for teaching me their importance.

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  1. I wish there was a “love this” button. Sadly, the handwritten note has fallen out of use. It’s only sad because it is such a simple thing, costs very little (postage?), and means so much to the recipient. That being said, there are still myriad ways to send a note and even still most people lack the social grace to do so. Thanks for your inspiring posts!

  2. Jackie Paulson 1966

     /  March 27, 2011

    I agree with Harvey, “LOVE THIS” button! Some day we won’t have snail mail I am sure. It is so sad. At least when you send a message and put a stamp on it: you KNOW they get it. Sometimes in emails and etc…the receiver does not get the message.

  3. Wade Abbott

     /  March 28, 2011

    I send out a small notecard to new visitors at the church I pastor. I find it more personal then the form letters that some churches send out for their visitors.

    • I didn’t know that you did that. I think that’s a great practice. Have you gotten any feedback from the visitors?


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