Dixie Darr

Can You Say Thank You?

In Learning, writing on January 26, 2011 at 8:34 am

The assignment for my business communications students was to write a thank you note. One man turned in a standard rejection letter sent by his Human Resources department to unsuccessful job applicants. I gave it back to him with the explanation that it wasn’t a thank you note. He looked at me as if I were incredibly stupid and smugly pointed to the first line: “Thank you for applying . . . “

Lesson number one. Using the words, thank you, doesn’t make it a thank you note. The purpose of a thank you note is to show gratitude. The purpose of his letter was to tell people they didn’t get a job. See the difference?

Penmanship is no longer taught in school and according to a CBS Sunday Morning story, some people think schools should stop teaching students how to write by hand at all because the prevalence and ease of using keyboards render handwriting unnecessary. I hope they’re wrong. Even as I struggle sometimes to decipher the gorgeous but sometimes illegible writing of my one friend who still prefers letters to email, it means something that she made the effort to handwrite a letter. Finding one of her missives in my mailbox makes my day.

Make somebody else’s day today. Write a thank you note and add some positive energy in the universe. Whom would you like to thank? It could be:

Authors of books you enjoyed

Doctors or other medical personnel who treat you like a human being

Anyone who makes your day more pleasant

Gardener whose yard pleases you on your daily walk

Call center technician who actually helped you.

Anyone who gives you a gift

Write it by hand on a pretty card, handmade paper, or a picture postcard (remember those?) and send it through the mail! A thank you by email is better than no thank you at all, but part of the fun is imagining the nice surprise when your benefactor finds your note among the usual bills, catalogs, and credit card solicitations in the mail.

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