When was the last time you sent or received a thank you card?
What if the thank you card (or a simple note of appreciation) was viewed as a seed that was essential to causing a relationship to bloom?
Many high school graduates have fond memories of a parent reminding them to send thank you notes to people who attended their reception or sent them gifts.
No, you can’t send a text. No, you can’t send an email. Hand write a thank you note.
My Momma taught us the subtle art of writing thank you notes right after receiving a gift. No child wants to do that, of course; but the discipline of doing it right away helps you avoid the embarrassment of remembering that you didn’t send a thank you card for a meeting you held 3 months prior.
Over the years, I’ve talked to countless people who have saved thank you notes, or heartfelt notes of appreciation. When someone is feeling down, popping open their collection of thank you cards and letters bumps them out of the rut of complacency.
After Concert in NYC:
Several musicians and I went out to dinner after performing a successful concert in New York City. I was already an established world-traveling musician, and the others were just starting their professional journey. I decided to pick up the dinner tab for our party.
3 days later, I received a lovely duo for viola and piano dedicated to me by one of our musicians who was a composer. It was a wonderful thank you!
Interview for Dream Job:
Jay has just interviewed for his dream job. He thought the interview went well! When he called a week later they said the position had been filled. He was in shock!
He asked the secretary of the corporation “what the winning candidate did differently than the other candidates?” She replied “The winning candidate sent a handwritten follow up note immediately after the interview.” Jay learned a valuable lesson that day!
Stand Out from the Competition
Amy Segelin, President and co-owner of Chaloner, a national executive search firm says, “The message is simple regarding thank you notes after a job interview: No follow up can mean no job.”
“We reached out to over 50 people from all different industries who had hired at least three communications professionals in the last year (including some who hired many more).”
“We were surprised to learn that over 75% of the people surveyed did not receive any kind of thank you note from most of the candidates they interviewed, and for 30% of those surveyed, no follow up meant no further steps for the candidate.”
One hiring manager said, “The follow up is the lynchpin for me. If the interview goes well and I feel invigorated and excited about someone, I wait to see what kind of follow up efforts they put forth.”
New York fashion publicist Cristiano Magni says, “It is so important, in a digital world, to have the dignity to sit down and write something in your own hand.”
Nailing an interview is a great demonstration of what you can say. A simple thank you note demonstrates that you are capable of following through.
Do I need to write a long and involved thank you note?
No. Even something as simple as “It was great meeting with you and your team. I appreciate your time and look forward to seeing you again soon,” will get the job done.
If you would like to integrate a more detailed follow up, Ted Chaloner, founder of Chaloner commented, “A good follow up communicates interest, confidence and enthusiasm. Thank the interviewer for his/her time and assert your belief in your ability to do the job. If there is any opportunity to follow up or close the loop on an issue or event that came up in your interview, seize this chance to do so.”
Amy Segelin says, “With so many factors outside of your control in a job search, seize the easy opportunity of a thank you note to demonstrate humility, confidence and passion.”
Tim Ventura, Digital Marketing Executive says, with many candidates to consider for a job and “with a stack of resumes and notes, a thank you follow up will tend to give their resume a bit more weight, because it puts them back in your radar. A thank you note demonstrates actual interest, genuine enthusiasm, self- motivated, “go- getter” attitude.”
Ventura also says, “I’ve written many thank you letters myself, and typically I try to start the letter out with a sentence describing what went right in the interview (obviously don’t mention things that don’t go smoothly). Then, I try to touch on some of the key points discussed in the interview and offer short reminders of why my skills are a good fit for those requirements. Then finish it up with a “looking forward to contributing to your team” line, and of course your contact info at the bottom. The “thank you” part is more important than the summary in my opinion – keep it short, don’t write a book. But it is nice to remind them of why you’re a great candidate.”
“Hey – you’re not done yet! Set yourself a reminder to follow up with them in a week, 2 weeks, and then after that, if they still haven’t made a decision, space the follow ups out a little further apart so you don’t come across as desperate.”
Don’t let the engagement stop with a single thank you. Sharing an article you came across on LinkedIn with a simple, “Read this and thought of you… All the best!” reinforces that you are interested and invested in the relationship, not just the transaction.
Dr. John Maxwell’s “Notes of Encouragement”: Dr. John Maxwell, the number 1 leadership coach in the world, thought it was so important to write thank you notes that he began recently “The John Maxwell Stationary Series- Notes of Encouragement Boxed Set”.
Be thankful in everything:
Rev. Matthew Henry, had his wallet stolen one evening. Instead of lamenting his ordeal, he wrote the following in his diary that evening:
“Let me be thankful-first, because I was never robbed before second, because although they took my wallet they did not take my life third, because although they took my all, it was not much and fourth, because it was I who was robbed, not I who robbed.”
Sure, Fire Way to Write a Thank You Immediately After:
Amy Segelin says, “I met one candidate who carries stationary on her at all times and disciplines herself to write the note just after leaving a meeting so she can drop it in the mail right away! Consider this strategy if you are having a hard time getting in the practice of follow up. And don’t stress too much about the format; the gesture itself is what people remember.”
Composer Joseph Haydn’s most memorable thank you Note:
John Bland, an English music publisher, was visiting composer Joseph Haydn in his home in Vienna, Austria. His goal was to convince Haydn to come to London in 1787 for a concert engagement and to publish Haydn’s music.
When Bland arrived at Haydn’s home, he found the composer struggling to shave with a dull razor. The world-famous composer’s face and neck were covered with nicks and cuts and he was complaining about the headache of shaving with a razor that was not sharp.
Haydn said, “I would give my best quartet for a good razor.”
Bland rushed back his room and grabbed his new British razors and raced back to present them to Haydn.
True to his word, Bland was given the manuscript for the Quartet, op. 55 No.2, the Razor Quartet. That was quite a thank you gift!
Building Strong Relationships:
That day was the beginning of a strong connection and friendship between the two men. John Bland became Hayden’s music publisher and when Haydn came to England he stayed at John Bland’s home.
What if the thank you card or a simple note of appreciation was viewed as a seed that was essential to causing a relationship to bloom? Would you take that next step?