Thank-you for a Thank-you

Dear Jean,

I am one of those people who might be called a workaholic.  I’m the type who gets to work early and stays late.  I love what I do.  No challenge is too great.  Occasionally, I’m rewarded for my “above and beyond the call of duty” work and receive dinner for two or symphony tickets.  Should I write a thank-you note for a thank-you gift?


I’m so glad you asked that question.  I’m wondering when you last received a personal thank-you note.  How did you feel?  Great, I’ll bet.  Pass it on!  I strongly believe that everyone wants to feel important – the way you felt when your boss handed you the tickets.  Because thank-you notes are never in bad taste, I hope you’ll write them often!

In this high-tech society, the personal touch has sadly given way to e-mail, voice mail, express mail, and the more-than-ever-present telephone.  That’s really too bad, because there’s something deeply touching about a personal, handwritten thank-you note.  In many cases, they are more impressive than a gift.  Anyone can buy a gift.

Recently, I received a thank-you letter from a woman I had helped to find a job many years ago.  I want to stress the word helped because in fact, I did not find her the employment she desired.  I had not had any contact with her since that time.  She lives in Dallas and is in an excellent upper-management job.

In her letter, she thanked me for the personal interest I had in her and told me that my believing in her had made a difference in her life.  The letter blew me away.

When was the last time you received a handwritten thank-you note?  What did you do with it?  Did you save it?

I save all the thank-you notes and special cards I receive during the year.  I put them in a file folder and label the file by the year.  Whenever I feel gloomy or when I want to spend a rainy afternoon alone, I go through my old cards and letters.  I have long forgotten about most of the gifts I have received in the last few years, but I still have ALL the letters and cards.

When the mail comes to my office, I speedily run through all the items hoping to find a small envelope with handwriting on it.  I open those first.  The busier I perceive the senders to be, the more impressed I am to receive cards from them.

Thank-you notes are written for all kinds of reasons.  Brian Tracy, a popular public speaker and business consultant says, “You will double your income in one year if you will write 25 thank-yous a week.”  Can you find 25 things to be grateful for every week?

One of the best reasons I have heard for writing thank-yous and notes of congratulations is that it makes the other person feel important.  Who doesn’t like to feel important?  Another very good reason to take pen in hand is that it’s just nice manners.

People continuously ask me, “What should I thank people for?”  I say, “Everything!”

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