Contrary to popular belief, the thank you note is not dead. In fact, there are more ways than ever to thank someone for their time and effort.
The Old Fashioned
Keep a supply of plain-ish note cards and stamped envelopes near your desk. When someone goes out of their way for you, stop and write a brief note of thanks, address it and drop it in the mailbox or on their desk if it is for a colleague.
The Hallmark Moment
Sign up for a Hallmark e-card subscription. Not only is it pretty cheap but it gives you access to scads of different cards for different occasions – including thanking someone. You pick a card, add your note, pop in the email address and hit send. This is also particularly handy if you forget to get a paper card for someone’s birthday.
The Quick and Thoughtful
There is nothing wrong with a regular email note to thank someone. I suggest sending it the next day. If you send it right after, it might seem like you had it composed and ready before the thing actually took place. When you send it the next day, it seems like you have not only given it some time to percolate but that you have taken time out of your day to take the action.
Don’t discount the value of a cheery, upbeat voice mail. It may not sit on the person’s desk like a paper card but there is always the option to save a voice mail allowing your thank-ee to be reminded about your sparkling personality and phone manner anytime they like.
In the end, it is not the format that’s important. It’s the message and the thought that went into it. That’s what will make you stand out.