Handwritten thank you notes. A lost art?

Posted on // Best Practices, Business

In college I was a member of the Purdue Varsity Glee Club. At our annual training camp at the beginning of the school year, we'd have a session with a professional etiquette trainer, covering everything from table manners to conversational techniques.

One aspect of this training that has stuck with me is the concept of writing thank you notes. As a Glee Club member, you get to interact with audience members after each performance, providing the opportunity to socialize with a diverse group of people.

To show their appreciation to the audience, Glee Club members would write thank you notes. Lots of them. Although I've since forgetten some of the nuances of writing thank you notes, I've retained the following:

  • Write the thank you note within 24 hours of meeting the person
  • If you don't manage to send within 24 hrs, it's never too late to thank someone
  • Only send hand-written notes

I make it a habit to write thank you notes to our clients after completing each project, after meeting a new contact, or thanking someone for giving me a lead. Last year I went through a stack of 50 notes in about 6 months, but I could have written more.

What's intriguing is I can't think of a single thank you note that I received.

Obviously that doesn't mean thank you notes have just disappeared, but based on my experience they must be less common.

The way I look at it, you'll never regret sending a thank you note. Even if you don't win a contract, definitely send that potential client a 'thank you.' Who's to say you weren't #2 on their list, should their primary selection fall through?

How about you? What do you do to say 'thank you' to your clients?