Joy Multiplier:  The Thank-you Note

A “force multiplier” in military parlance is a capability that, when employed by a combat force, significantly increases its combat potential.  A “joy multiplier” is similar.  It brings significantly more joy to you and others than its effort would typically create.  A thank-you note is a great “joy multiplier” as it takes very little effort but lets friends and family members know you appreciate them and the generous gifts of time, money, effort and resources they have bestowed upon you.

The year-end holidays are a time when effective thank-you note writing is critical.  Now is the time to properly thank the generous people in your life.  Thanking people and making sure that gift-givers know how much we appreciate their gifts is often more difficult than we expect.  Therefore, it tends to be a task we procrastinate.  Procrastinating with thank-you notes usually results in the job hanging over our head, zapping our joy, and often results in us failing to thank those who bestowed their wealth, time and resources on us –- resources they could have spent on themselves or their family.

Instead of living in that joy-stealing place, follow these easy steps to craft beautiful and well-received thank-you notes that all your friends and loved-ones will appreciate receiving.

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Two Steps to Writing an Awesome Thank-You Note

Step 1:  Personalize the note

If you are going to take the time to create a thank-you note, take an extra couple minutes to make it personal.  Do not even think about typing the note or sending it via text or email.  A thoughtful, handwritten note sent via snail mail conveys a level of sincerity, trustworthiness, appreciation, sophistication and class that cannot be replicated by any other means.

Thank-you notes do not have to be formal or written on expensive stationery. Just get a box of cards that is generic enough to suit everybody you will be writing a thank-you note to.

Step 2: Write the note

Begin with “Dear,” then write the words you would use to address the person if they walked in your room this moment and you had not seen them since last year.  If they are your friend, you would probably say their first name.  If it is an elder or friend of your parents, address them as “Dr. ______” or “Pastor _____”, or “Mr. and Mrs. ______________” etc.

     1.  The First Sentence

The best and easiest way to begin is to simply write, “Thank you for…” and describe the gift that person has given you, such as:

  • Thank you for the Ant Farm you gave me this Christmas.
  • Thank you for the electronics equipment you gave me for Hanukkah.
  • Thank you for inviting us to your amazing Eid al-Fitr dinner party.

     2.  The Second Sentence

Explain why you like the gift, how you plan to use it and/or how much you like it.   For instance:

  • I love ants and it will be incredible to learn about them by watching them in my room.
  • I have already secured an extra gig because of the new amplifier you gave me!
  • The food was great, the braised cauliflower was amazing, and the company was even better!

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     3.  The Third Sentence

Use the third sentence to strengthen the bond you share with the recipient.

  • I cannot wait for you to come over and see all the tunnels the ants have constructed.
  • We are playing the Roxy in Des Moines on January 14, and would be excited if you could come.
  • I hope we can hang out again in the future.  Pat and I had a terrific time with you guys.

     4.  The Ending

You can, of course, drop another sentence or two.  But do not feel any pressure to do so.  The third sentence is always a high point you can end on.  Simply close the note with “Love,” or “Truly yours,” or “Thank you again,” as appropriate.  Then sign your name.

The thank-you note is simple and very effective when you follow this formula and don’t try to overthink it.  When you compose a sincere note of appreciation, it is almost foolproof.  It brings joy to the recipient, to everyone the recipient shows it to, and it brings joy to you.

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