The Importance of a Thank You

Wendy TownleyAs I sit at my dining room table surrounded by a stack of Christmas cards and envelopes that need sentiments and addresses, sparkly stickers and postage stamps, I am reminded of the importance of the handwritten letter. I have written about that somewhat-dated form of communication a handful of times here on the Creative Freelancer Blog.

When we thumb through the stack of catalogs, magazines, bills, and various junk mail pieces that arrive on cue, six days a week, we often gravitate toward the handwritten envelopes. Be it fancy or sloppy, curvy or plain, all capital letters or all lowercase letters, the thrill we experience when seeing the handwritten word is all the more precious these days. In the age of email, web, social media, texting, and more, the person behind the pen can often speak volumes.

To me, a mailed letter, card, or other handwritten greeting says more than any email, tweet, or status update ever could.

Which is why, this time of year, I want you to grab a notepad or open a file on your computer, and create a list of individuals who have helped you and your work in 2011. Begin in January, and work through your mental file cabinet.

Which writer or designer helped you out on a tight deadline? Maybe a tax advisor worked extra hard on filing your (admittedly late) return by April 15. Consider the I.T. guru who quickly corrected the garbled list of contacts on your smartphone. Or perhaps a vendor gave you a discount, simply because you are a loyal customer.

We all-too-easily (and, I think, sometimes absentmindedly) thank individuals for holding doors, for scanning our purchases at the grocery store, for cutting our hair, or changing the oil in our car. These people deserve thanks, of course, but so do many others we sometimes forget.

Extend your circle of gratitude to the people and organizations that help you manage your workload and keep you professional and on deadline, every time. You’ll also keep your name top-of-mind in one of the easiest and friendliest ways possible. No wifi required.

And who knows? Maybe you’ll receive a thank-you letter in the coming weeks for someone whom you helped in 2011. It seems only natural to want to return the favor in 2012.

Are you sending (or receiving) handwritten cards this season? If so, do you agree? And what about e-cards?

10 thoughts on “The Importance of a Thank You

  1. Yvon Lantaigne

    I wholeheartedly agree Wendy, and to that effect, my Christmas card list has topped the 120 mark this year, each one handset in wood and lead type and handprinted letterpress, including personalized envelopes. Each envelope addressed by hand, each card containing a handwritten note, thanking people, or inviting them to connect more often in the new year, etc, etc.
    We truly need to get back to sending handwritten notes.

    Great post!

  2. Kendall Ridley

    I always send a handwritten thank-you note to clients after finishing projects. I’m not sending out end-of-the-year thank-yous, but I did hand-deliver to clients a gift bag filled with goodies from my hometown to let them know how much I appreciated them choosing to work with me in 2011.

    1. Wendy Townley

      Hand delivered … I love it! So important when we often quickly communicate via email and phone (and Facebook and Twitter and text message). Taking the time to say thanks in person goes SUCH a long way with a relationship. Way to go!

  3. Sam

    I am so going to write hand written letters this year! I have been trying to use pen and paper more and more. It just seems a lot more personal then an email.

    Thanks for the post!!