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The Art of Saying Thank You

by Dec 16, 2021

Another tidbit from the “I learned it from my parents” category is the word thank you. Good ole Merriam-Webster’s definition is “a polite expression of one’s gratitude” or “something that you give or do to show thanks.” My mother has made saying thank you an art form. She truly has. She writes these beautifully chosen words on just as beautiful note cards to express her gratitude. I never expect these notes and seeing her penmanship on an envelope tells me something kind and loving is inside. She has sent thank you’s to my husband and me for all types of things – cooking a Thanksgiving meal to washing her car. Yep – she sent me a thank you for washing her car. Surely you have gotten a thank you note at some point in your life. It felt great, right? Perhaps you even set it on your desk or nightstand to remind you of the feeling you had reading the grateful words. I sure do.

I’ve tried to take a cue from my dear mother and express my gratitude in all things. However, I’m sure I’ve missed some things along the way.

So how does gratitude and saying thank you play a part in the workplace? Gratitude and appreciation come in all shapes, sizes, and situations.

Thank you to a team member. Thank you to a colleague. “Job well done.” “Appreciate the help.” “Thank you for staying late.”

And here is a critical one that many people miss. Thank you as a follow up to an interview.

In this day and age, you need to write a quick email thank you the same day as your interview. Following my mother’s lead, I highly suggest handwriting a thank you note the same day as your interview and mail it. I’ve been met with a few disagreements on this and told it was “old school” and “unnecessary.”

I’ve made hiring decisions over this. Colleagues have done the same. A quick, yet nicely crafted note gives you a chance to say thank you for the interview, comment on a specific point from the interview and wrap it up with why you are good for the role. It shows your continued interest post-interview and makes you stand out. For the multitudes of interviews I have conducted I would guess that only 30% have sent a thank you. So yes, you do indeed stand out.

Remember that feeling when reading those words of gratitude? Instill that in others.

A thoughtfully crafted thank you is truly an art. So go on, create your work of art.