How to Write a Simple Sincere Thank You Note

how to write thank you note

I work on lots of projects in a very large group. I am always collaborating with several people in order to get things done. One of the things that I have always done well is maintaining positive, productive work relationships. If I could boil my secret down to its most elementary terms it would be" "Please and Thank You". When you need someone else to do something, say please. Be respectful of their time and workload and let them know who much you appreciate their time.

When they take care of it, make sure that you say Thank You. This is even more important than the Please part. You don’t have to go crazy with flowery praise, just let them know that you appreciate their time and effort.

Today a colleague asked me to "help her write one of those nice thank you notes that I’m always sending." She received some valuable help on a project and wanted to let the people know how much it was appreciated.

Here is my secret

When I want to write a simple, effective thank you email to people I use a technique that I learned called Situation Behavior Impact (SBI).

What is SBI?

SBI is a way to deliver positive and "constructive" feedback to people in a concise, effective manner. Think of something good or bad that you need to address with someone. If you break it down into three pieces it is easy to deliver.

Situation
When did it happen?
What was taking place?
Who was there?

Behavior
What did the other person do or say?

Impact
What positive or negative impact did the behavior have on the outcome?

Here is an example:
        SITUATION                                                 BEHAVIOR                        IMPACT
During the staff meeting this morning – your software recommendation – helped us find a great solution to our problem.

Change the Behavior and Impact statements and it works for negative situations too.
       SITUATION                                                 BEHAVIOR                        IMPACT
During the staff meeting this morning – your constant interruptions – kept us from covering the full agenda.

They might not like it, but they’ll understand it.

I have given and received good and bad feedback using this method and it usually works very well.

Making it Your Own

Here’s my secret: I usually use the SBI (Situation Behavior Impact) approach when I do my thank you notes.
I just add in my own casual style to make it feel more human.

For instance:

Here is the behavior:
I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated all of the help that you gave me on the "YOUR FAVOR HERE" the other day "EXACT DAY HERE".

Then I drop the Situation into the next part:  (Not "The Situation" from the Jersey Shore, just the regular one.)
Putting together the "YOUR TASK HERE" was pretty rough. Your support made a big difference.

Now here’s where I bring it on home:

I really appreciate the time and energy that you put in.

THANKS!!!
Count the exclamation points. One – Two – Three. Any less than that makes you an ungrateful taker. Any more and you’re a butt kissing phony.

Here it is all together:

I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated all of the help that you gave me on the "YOUR FAVOR HERE" the other day "EXACT DAY HERE".
Putting together the "YOUR TASK HERE" was pretty rough. Your support made a big difference.
I really appreciate the time and energy that you put in.

Thanks!!!

That’s it. Three simple sentences make a huge difference. Now, the next time you need a favor, you’ll have someone who is much more willing to help.

By the way: Today, when you took the time to read my article, it made me very happy. Thanks!!!

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