Analysis of an Actual Thank You Note

In this post, I will provide an analysis of an actual thank-you note. This is the note I wrote to my boss for the merit increase I received in April 2016.

I will focus on 4 points to show what is good about it and what I could have done better. The post ends with a bonus point about stickers.

Your thank-you note doesn’t have to be perfect to be meaningful.

1. Sloppy Handwriting

Handwriting is important as it needs to be legible. Also, when writing notes at the office, neat handwriting looks more professional.

My handwriting was a bit sloppy in this note (pictured below). When I intended to write “for” I wrote “fore” instead, which was not the spelling of for that I wanted to use. I noticed this before writing the next word. So it wrote over the “e” with the “t” in the word the. That is why there is not any space between for and the.

Also, I spelled appreciate wrong. I wrote the first “e” as “i” instead of “e”. I used the write over tactic again to change the “i” to an “e”.

Sometimes, when writing thank-you notes, mistakes are a reason to start over. Here is why I choose not to start over:

  • I know my boss well enough that I didn’t feel the need to start over to make the note perfect.
  • He has shared that he doesn’t have a preference of handwritten notes over email thank-you notes making me think that he will also be okay with a bit of sloppy handwriting.
  • I didn’t want to waste the card.

My mom would have started over. It’s up to you if you would or not, depending on your situation and comfort level with the recipient.

Analysis of an actual thank you note

2. Including specific details in the note

My number one tip for a great thank you note is to make it specific. My two reasons for writing the thank you note are included. First, to thank my boss for the raise. And then to thank him for winning the March Award of Excellence. This is awarded to 1 person in my department each month and comes with a $100 gift certificate.

I purposely delayed writing the note for the Aware of Excellence until I found out about my raise. I received notification of winning the Award of Excellence for the month of March in early April. The annual merit increases are distributed in mid-April. Since the timing was close (within about 2 weeks) I decided to combine my gratitude for both into one thank-you note.

3. Emotion: How it made me feel

I concluded the note by letting my boss know how I felt about the recognition. I felt great getting a raise and an award. The award was truly a surprise as my boss did not tell me that he had nominated me for March.

I didn’t get fancy and went with how I was actually feeling. I didn’t try to come up with impressive sounded emotions. A thesaurus was not required.

4. What I didn’t say!

Notice I didn’t mention anything about my plans for the money. This was very intentional. Usually, when thanking people for money, I recommend telling them what you spent it on or are saving it towards.

Income is an exception to sharing what you did or will do with the money with the giver. The money is not my boss’s personal money. It is the company’s money so it is not any of his business as to how I will use the additional income.

I also didn’t mention what my raise dollar amount or percentage was. That might seem like a great specific detail to include, but my boss already knows how much it was.

Also, you never know who may see your note so it is better to leave out what the amount was. Your coworkers may have received more or less than you. Even if you decided on emailing your boss the thank you note, someone else could end up seeing it. Better to avoid potential drama no matter how excited you are about it.

5. Stickers and An Interesting Coincidence

same cat on sticker and calendar pageI like to use stickers on card envelopes to add some personality to them. This can be done when the card isn’t super formal. For example, don’t add stickers when mailing a thank you note after a job interview.

I love cats. My boss knows I love cats. My boss does not have a cat but he is okay with cats. My office is not formal so I decided to go with a cat sticker. I am also becoming known as a cat lady at the office. He may have been disappointed if I didn’t use a cat sticker!

Notice the cat sticker on the envelope (top part of the picture). The day my boss opened the note, the same cat picture was on my cat of the day calendar! I found that to be an interesting coincidence!

Did you find this analysis helpful? If you would like to see more posts like this, please leave a comment or send me an email using the contact form.

Heidi has been writing thank you notes for more than 30 years and is the author of A Modern Guide to Writing Thank-You Notes. Her goal is to help people write better thank-you notes by providing tips and examples.

2 thoughts on “Analysis of an Actual Thank You Note”

    • Hi Melinda,

      I don’t have a post (yet) specific to guest speakers. You could try something like this:

      Dear Name,

      Thank you for being our guest speaker at the meeting last week. We appreciate your time and message. Several members of the audience commented on how your words resonated with them. Speaking about _________ was just what we needed.

      Thanks Again,
      Name of club’s representative

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