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'The Art of Thank You'

April 15, 2013 - Mike Donahey
“The Art of Thank You — Crafting Notes of Gratitude ” — is a must read for anyone.

Author Connie Leas is a formal technical writer who felt compelled to write book after a wedding gift sent was not acknowledged.

Leas speculated the recipient didn’t know a thank you note was required — or they were insecure about their note-writing skills. Regardless, that motivated Leas to put together a “how to” book. Consequently, her readable tome is full of practical advice — when to send them, what kind of stationary to use, what to write and so on.

She provides examples to use in business to funerals to weddings. For funerals, Leas recommends thank-you notes be sent within six weeks to all who helped with the service, such as speakers or pallbearers, and to those who sent flowers or sympathy cards.

Email thank yous are debated, pro and con. In short, Leas doesn’t recommend them in the opening paragraph, but a couple writes they will do, two paragraphs later, but only in certain situations. That is not criticism of her, more the realization that a gesture of thanks, even electronically, is better than nothing.

Leas wrote the email variety are appropriate for work associates who helped with a project to friends who hosted an informal dinner.

However, she directs that hand-written notes are required for for formal situations, such acknowledging wedding gifts or funerals.

I am fortunate — sending thank you notes was drilled into me by my late mother. She set an excellent example. Mom wrote many a thank you note and insisted her five children do the same when the situation merited. I have continued the practice over the years, especially in business-related positions I’ve held. I’ve sent them in my current position at the Times-Republican. Am I perfect — no. Have I always been timely — again no. However, the late Ann Landers said a delayed thank-you was better than none.

I will tell you that writing a thank you note is gratifying. And dear readers, I suggest writing one the next time a gift is received or someone does you a big favor.



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