The Thank You Note


In late November I received a thank you note for participating in the Strategic Architect Forum.  The SAF is a cool event where they invite architects from all over the world to the Microsoft Redmond campus for 2 1/2 days of great sessions.  Josh Holmes and I led a break out session during the forum.  The coordinator of the event sent each of the presenters a nice thank you note on SAF stationary. 


In early December I received another hand-written thank you note for writing an article on Enterprise Mashups for the Architecture Journal.  It was on stationary for the journal and they also included 10 copies of the print version of the journal that I could keep or share.  I sent one to my mom and I passed the others out at the recent ArcReady event in Chicago.  Both of these thank you notes are sitting on my desk at home and will probably be there for some time to come.

Have we forgotten about written notes?

I was very impressed and touched to get hand written Thank You note for two activities.  To me it seemed like the people running these events went “above and beyond” in showing their appreciation.  One of the things that makes the hand written note so special is that they are so seldom sent these days.  I seem to get lots of mail these days, but outside of Christmas, birthday and a couple of other holiday cards, most of it seems to be generated by computers or is glossy ads.

What kind of impact can a written note have?

Over my 15+ year career I have done a lot of interviewing (literally hundreds of candidates for various jobs).  In that time I have received five thank you cards after an interview.  Here is the amazing part, I can tell you the names of the people that sent those cards: Laura, Scott, John, Steve and Rich.  Why?  Because I still have everyone of those cards and even if I didn’t I could probably tell you a couple of their names anyway.  Am I a pack rat?  No, because I just threw away recycled all of the Christmas cards that I got this past year. Of the five I think only two of them got the jobs they were interviewing for, but if I saw their resume fly across my inbox for a position today, I would say that we should interview them, because they showed they were really interested in the position.

Isn’t an e-mail enough?

It is nice to get a thank you e-mail after an interview or for speaking at an event or some other reason.  I almost always reply and say “your welcome” and give some other appropriate follow-up and then I delete the e-mail.  I don’t put it on display on my desk or keep it for years.  If you want to make an impact invest in a nice thank you card and $.42 to send it.  E-mail still has its place in the process, like if you have a time sensitive follow-up.  But if you want to have a real impact, send a hand written thank you. 


When was the last time you sent a Thank You card?

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