The holidays are over, and likely as not, you received some gifts or gift certificates from friends, relations, business colleagues, vendors, coworkers or even people who view you as a prospective client. You already know you need to express gratitude, but there are two issues to consider: what type of thank-you is appropriate, and where will you find the time (and patience!) to write and send all of them?
Extrapolating from Emily Post, a good rule of thumb is that if you weren’t there to give thanks in person, a note is required. If the gift was small or if you are in email contact with the giver several times per week, then an email thank you will suffice. If your relationship with the giver is very close, occasionally a phone call will be just the thing. However, the more expensive or extravagant the gift, the greater the need for a personal, handwritten note.
In some cases, you might have the option to use social media. Depending on your relationship with the gift giver, there are many new possibilities for your expression of gratitude. You might consider posting a public thank-you on the giver’s Facebook page, posting a picture of the gift on your Instagram or Twitter feed and tag the giver, or even blog about it.
Once you’ve decided which way to send your thanks, you need to make the time to write them and send them. This is precisely where many entrepreneurs get tripped up. Finding the time for non-critical tasks can be a real challenge. However, if you can get organized with a simple list of gifts, givers and their addresses, you’ve already won half the battle.
When you sit down to write, it’s OK if you’re not the most articulate or poetic writer. The two most important words you absolutely must use are “thank you.” Everything else is gravy. Most notes can follow this template:
- Greeting: Dear Suzanne,
- Thank you: Thank you so much for the spa gift certificate.
- What will you do with it: I can’t wait to get a hot stone massage.
- Additional details, looking to the future: I’m sure my team will also appreciate how relaxed I’ll be afterwards. I hope you’ll be able to meet them on your next visit.
- Say it again: Again, I am very grateful for your generosity.
- Finish the note with good cheer: Best regards,
Now, to do it. Once you’re organized, writing thank you notes shouldn’t take more than a few hours. You can even print stamps at home if need be.
However, if you are just swamped with new business and other important activities that cannot be delayed, it might be a good idea to delegate this particular – but very necessary – task. A virtual assistant is the ideal person to take your list, your address book, and a roll of stamps and make it happen. She can knock out dozens of notes by the time you’ve finished your first meeting.
If you need help with your thank you notes, let me know! I’m more than happy to take care of it for you.