Hand-written notes need to be written immediately after the experience or event about which you are writing – within hours, or the next day or as soon as you hear or become aware of something.
- Write a thank you note to the person who interviewed you for the position you just applied for.
- Thank the business that provided excellent customer service to you; especially mention any staff member in person who was very helpful.
- Thank the journalist who wrote a story about you.
- Follow up with the new contact you made at the networking event, saying how valuable, or important or relevant or stimulating the discussion you had was.
- Send them something that was relevant to the discussion – something further about your business, or an article or report, a book, CD or DVD.
- Offer to make an introduction for them to a contact that may be able to help them.
- Invite them to accompany you to an event which could be valuable for them to attend.
- Congratulate a colleague who won an award, got a promotion or a new job, is elected to a key position in a community organisation or achieved any other success at something.
- Congratulate an organisation that won a big contract.
- Always thank the people who do business with you for giving you that opportunity.
- Always say thank you for any gift you receive.
- Send best wishes to a colleague who has started a new business, moved into bigger offices, set up a new website or initiated something new in his/her business.
- Thank anyone who has gone out of their way to facilitate something for you – fast-tracked a delivery or order or driven out of their way to deliver or pick up something for you.
- Thank a colleague who recommended you or introduced you to a new client or customer.
- Thank a colleague who took you for coffee or out to lunch.
- Send personal messages to colleagues when they have a death in the family, or they become ill and are in hospital, or have an accident, when they celebrate an important birthday, retire, or their children achieve some success, when they have success at some sport they excel in or are elected to a key position in an organisation.
Thank your manager (or CEO) for:
- Any opportunity you’ve been given.
- Any advice or help you are offered.
- Any extra time he/she spends with you helping you master something.
- Introductions to key people who may help advance your career.
- Any information, reading, audios, DVDs that he/she has given you as learning material.
Obviously, if your manager is in near proximity to you, you say it verbally. If he/she is not, you write. If it is your CEO with whom you don’t have regular contact, you write.
If you are a manager, there are some added things you can do.
Be very aware of what your team are doing, what they are engaged with and write hand-written notes to them. As I’ve just said above, obviously if people are in the next office or on the same floor you don’t do this. You go and say it verbally. If they are in another building, or on another floor, it is very appropriate. If you are going on leave and haven’t had the opportunity to say it, then it is very worthwhile writing a note before you go.
- If they made a significant contribution at a team meeting.
- If they averted a potential conflict by their intervention.
- If they chaired a meeting very well.
- If they produced a very good report.
- If they made a good presentation.
- If they consistently go the extra mile.
- If they are a positive influence around the organisation.
- If they volunteered for a particular role over and above their job description.
- If you have just discovered something impressive they are doing outside of work.
- If you are leaving your position, write individually to your team members after you have left and thank them.Thank them for their contribution and how they contributed to making your time there meaningful. You,will have done this before you left verbally, but the hand-written note makes the impact.
Dawn Bryan writes personal notes to her team in the week after Christmas and sends them to their home address. She says they make a powerful impact.
Don’t get caught up with those companies that are “manufacturing” hand-written cards. They print your message in a cursive hand-writing script (not your hand-writing) and print them off. They even send them for you. These kinds of cards hold none of the value that the personally selected, personally written on and personally posted do.
So go out and make an impact. Be remembered.
The hand-written note is the icing on the cake. You don’t have to do it. You may have already said what you wanted to say in person. It is, however, the extra bit that brings an added dimension to your personal brand that few others have. In the mind of the receiver you will be remembered for all the right reasons.