In this time of Facebook, Twitter, email, iPads and iPhones, electronic messages are a no brainer. They take seconds to send and generally get the job done.
And while I think most people still remember the importance of traditional thank you notes for business, I think some people have forgotten the importance for personal thank you notes for people who are close to them, like friends and family.
I’m a huge proponent of social media and most modern technology, but when it comes to properly thanking someone, I think the thank you card (made of paper!) trumps all. The beauty of modern technology? You can now buy, personalize and send paper cards online. Sites like Hallmark and more make the excuse of “I have no time to get to the store” moot.
Here is a reminder of some occasions that should always be recognized with a paper card:
-A business / client referral
-A significant purchase of a product or service
-A gift for a very special occasion, such as a birthday, shower or wedding
The people who do this well stand out in the crowd. For example, my lifelong friend Rachel not only sends thank you notes for every occasion, she sends them in a timely fashion. She’s also the first one to get her holiday cards out every year. That overachiever! 😉 Her thoughtfulness (to name one of her many qualities) has made her a friend for life. And my client Diane is fabulous about not only sending hand-written cards after playing her harp for a client, but she personalizes them even further, by always incorporating a photo of her harp. These gestures make a difference!
Another example is a thank you tweet from a public figure like a celebrity. This is generally not expected and a is pleasant surprise.
Now before you tell me I’m being preachy, I’ll tell you about a thank you faux pas I committed not too long ago. (I never said I was perfect!) My wonderful Aunt Patti sent me cash for my birthday one year. And yes, I forgot to thank her.
Can you imagine how stressed she had to have been, thinking someone either stole the card or lost it in the mail? (For fairness and balance, I will note that while I am a massive proponent of snail mail, I know the postal service is not 100% reliable.) Aunt Patti naturally emailed me to apologize to ME for the mail being lost. Can you imagine how embarrassed I was?! I was mortified. But like any time I screw up in life, lemme tell you, I will NOT make the same mistake again!
On the professional side, forgetting to show gratitude just makes your competition look better than you.
On the other side with friends or family, it’s inconsiderate. This happened to me recently, and honestly, it really hurt my feelings because I felt taken for granted. When I do something kind for someone I’m close to, I absolutely do not do it for recognition. But by ignoring the gesture makes me feel like it was not worth the effort.
Any thank you is better than no thank you. But anyone can send an email. It takes just a moment.
Anyone can send a thank you card as well. But it takes a few more moments, and therefore means so much more.
A little gratitude still goes a very long way!