The Art of the Thank You

May 18, 2011 12:22 AM

Expressing gratitude is an art.  And with modern mediums such as Facebook, Twitter and text messages, not mastering it is simply inexcusable. Here are my five tips for saying thank you with style and grace.

1.Timing is Everything
Always try to express your thanks as soon as possible. Look at any opportunity to say thank you, as just that, an opportunity.  In work situations, whether it be after an interview, receiving a gift or being treated to dinner or a cocktail, the sooner you acknowledge the act or experience, the more prevalent you will remain in that person’s mind. Have you ever heard somebody complain “This thank you came too soon”! Of course, not. It’s more like, “Wow, she’s on it.”

Keep in mind that work-related situations do require a more formal form of thanks than a friendly dinner. So, while text is not appropriate and Facebook message is certainly not, a hand written card is not necessary. Email is the quickest and best way to say thank you in this situation.

2. Better Late Than Never
If ever you have procrastinated or (gasp!) forgotten to write a thank you altogether, better late than never. No matter how long after, you should still write the email or send the card or find an alternate way to return the gesture. In such situations, I suggest that that the late thank you be masked as a catch-up, as in, “I was thinking about how nice of you it was to send me those tickets and how we really should catch up as soon as possible.” If you have the time, a phone call is still much appreciated in these situations and allows you to make a more personal connection.

3.  Be Specific
No matter if it was a tangible gift, a gesture, a job interview or an experience, make sure you acknowledge specific characteristics about how you plan to enjoy and/or use the gift, or what it was specifically that you enjoyed about the experience. This illustrates your attention to detail and allows you to express with sincerity your appreciation. For example, “Thank your for meeting with me today. I was inspired by the atmosphere of your offices and the insight you offered into your company structure and was very pleased to meet you in person.”

4. Get Personal But Not Too Personal
In the case of the physical thank you cards, it’s easy and inexpensive to get really nice personalized cards custom made with your name or monogram. This is appropriate for all occasions and sure to impress. Personalizing the  inside is also more  sincere. Just remember the context and save the personal details for family and close friends.

5. Allude to the Future
Especially with regards to an interview or work occasion, the thank you allows you to not only express how much you enjoyed the mutually shared experience, but also to shamelessly (yet appropriately) express your intentions and desires for the future, for example, “I was very pleased that you asked me to be a part of the event – which I thought was just fabulous – and I would love to work with you and your team again in the future. Please keep me in mind for your fall launch.”

With that, I thank you in advance for sharing this advice with all your friends! Please ask me your etiquette questions in the comments below and I’ll be happy to answer  them.


Check out our picks for 8 Great Thank You Cards


2 Responses to The Art of the Thank You

  1. 8 Great Thank You Cards | Empirella on May 19, 2011 at 4:18 AM

    […] more thank you tips in The Art of the Thank You. Tags: etiquette, style, Thank You […]

  2. Phyl on May 19, 2011 at 9:36 PM

    The art of the thank you seems to be slipping, so well done Empirella! I have my daughters 6 and 8 write thank you notes as best they can, immediately, and for most occasions. People are usually surprised and delighted. Gratitude is so very important.