By Kevin Donnellon
I’m in heaven.
I just received 10 thank you notes from students in Andy Clark’s DePaul Sports Management class. I was a guest lecturer at the class and presented on The Masters Tournament brand and My 7 Secrets To Successful Networking.
I am totally impressed with these students and Andy who encouraged them to write those notes. They reminded of the value of a well-written thank you note in a world consumed with thank you emails and even grateful social media posts.
Thank you notes are more valuable than those electronic ways to thank someone because they are:
- Polite – our parents harped about something that is respectful of others’ time and actions and essential to creating and building professional relationships.
- Professional – savvy and sophisticated business people show professionalism by their actions that can be as simple as a thank you note.
- Promote and differentiate your professional brand. While your competitors are emailing, posting or only thanking you in person or on the phone, you are leaving a lasting favorable impression.
- Positioning — it shows the type of person you are and how you might match an organization’s culture of politeness, character, professionalism and sophistication.
So, how do you write a proper thank you note and when do you send it?
Send it NOW or soon as you can to sustain the connection and interest in you as a candidate, partner or ally.
Here are the important parts of an impressive thank you note:
1. Specific thank you or appreciation statement (simple right)?
- “Thank you, Mr. Donnellon for coming to speak to our class and speaking about _____.”
- “Thank you Mr. Donnellon for meeting to network with me today.”
2. Talk about something specific that you learned from the presentation or meeting or interview:
- “I especially enjoyed learning about the special partners’ role in the golf tournament.”
- “I particularly appreciated your thoughts on focusing on five companies to direct my search and network contacts.”
3. How will you use this knowledge?
- “That and the other nuggets of information will help me as I look at partnerships later.”
- •“I am already using your advice to qualify companies from the Crain’s business lists.”
4. Make a closing and confident connection statement:
- “I look forward to seeing you around the Chicago Sports Commission breakfasts.
- “I will find you at the upcoming BMA breakfast on influencer marketing.”
5. Make a sincere offer to reciprocate in a modest and endearing way:
- “If I can help you with a LinkedIn endorsement or a connection within my network, don’t hesitate to let me know.”
- “I thought you might be interested in this HubSpot post on community marketing. I will send a link to you.”
6. Create a close that makes an impression:
- “Good luck with the Buckeyes’ football season and have a fantastic week.” I use the word “terrific” which I feel is different.
- “Have a fun July 4 weekend playing golf and rooting for the Cubbies.”
Use professional stationery or professional thank you cards and envelopes to reinforce the impression you want to make. They can cost as little as 60 cents per card. Trust me, you will get a good ROI on that investment.
Hallmark offers similar, complementary advice.
Think of a well-written thank you note as your strategy to build and enhance your personal brand and make an impression that lead to relationships that last your entire career.
Thanks, Andy and your students for inspiring this post.
What do you think about the value of thank you notes?
Kevin Donnellon’s firm Macali Communications specializes in marketing and communications for new, established and emerging businesses. He has worked for business leaders of big and small companies and brands, and still considers caddying as his best and most inspirational job.