THE BLOG
01/08/2015 04:28 pm ET Updated Mar 10, 2015

National Thank You Month: A Professional Reminder

A simple thank you note is hard to beat for creating a lasting impression. In business, it's an important but often overlooked part of your executive toolkit. A short, handwritten note of thanks not only indicates your appreciation for a kind gesture, but also has the power to strengthen connections and show your thoughtfulness and attention to detail. In our digital world, there is something magical about getting a stamped letter with our name written on the front. The best part is that with the right supplies, the entire process takes less than five minutes.

As quick as it is to write a thank you note, many people are intimidated by the task, putting off this simple act until it's either forgotten or so late that it's too embarrassing to send. Follow these six steps to let your professional contacts know how much you value them.

Thank You Note Etiquette Tips:
  1. Stock up on supplies. Everyone one should be able to reach into their desk drawer and pull out a beautiful note card or sheet of writing paper. It is a staple item in your business tool kit, much like a business card and a good writing pen. Skip the value pack of "thank you notes" you can buy at your local convenience store. Take the time to select a few different options, depending on the person and occasion.
  2. Write it by hand. A legible scribble is much more personal than a computer-generated letter, so make the extra effort to put down your thoughts with your best pen. Pay equal attention to addressing the envelope, which is the first thing the recipient will notice when they open your card.
  3. Choose the right postage. Handwritten correspondence should never be metered; keep a box of Forever stamps readily available. Leftover holiday stamps don't belong on professional thank you's unless you're sending holiday greetings.
  4. Keep it simple. There's no need to overthink it. Make sure to specifically mention the reason for your gratitude and how it influenced or impacted your life: "Thank you so much for recommending me to your client. I appreciate you thinking of me when she needed help with marketing. It's a great compliment that you would entrust your clients to me."
  5. Close with sincerity. Allow your send off to reflect your relationship with the person to whom you are sending the card. Ending with either "Sincerely" or "Best regards" is almost always appropriate. In business correspondence, avoid getting overly friendly. Reserve "Love" for letters to friends and family.
  6. Elevate the envelope. Hand write the address and return address, using a little extra care here to make sure it is legible and reaches the intended recipient. The personal touch is what will set your note apart, so stay away from pre-printed labels. Make sure everything is correct, especially the addressee's name. Keep the envelope clean and simple, free of cutesy stamps or stickers. Your handwriting on a crisp envelope with a beautiful stamp is all your note needs to get noticed and appreciated.
For more of Diane's business etiquette tips, visit her blog, connect with her here on The Huffington Post, follow her on Pinterest and Instagram and "like" The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook.