Please Accept My Sincerest Thanks...

Last week, I was consumed with the STAY WITH IT™ Day of Engineering event that Georgia Tech hosted in collaboration with the White House, Intel, Facebook, mtvU and other university partners. The end result that culminated on Wednesday, March 14, was only made possible because of countless individuals who worked tirelessly throughout the last two months to produce the event. While I’m not able to give them a gift of monetary significance, I want to ensure that they know how much I appreciate their service, hard work and flexibility.

I’ve always felt sending a thank-you note after an event to those who have been of assistance is crucial to the post-event planning phase. As event planners, we know we call upon many peers, colleagues, and volunteers to ensure our events are successful. Although it may seem tedious and unnecessary, the impact you will make by expressing your appreciation will far outweigh the time it took to produce and will only strengthen your future relationships.

In this day of smart phones, text messages, tweets and so forth, is a hand written note still most appropriate or a thing of the past? I consulted the 18th edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette: Manners for a New World for a few thank-you note guidelines that I paraphrase below:

•    When writing thank-you notes, it’s most important to be prompt and sincere
•    Keep your notes short, using your own language, expressive punctuation (if you choose), and the recipient’s name, when applicable (i.e. Beth, I can’t thank you enough for the leadership you displayed with our student volunteers at the registration table.”)
•    Let your mode of communication match the action/scope and the level of significance of the task
•    Handwritten notes will always be more warm and tangible, conveying the extra time and care you spent to the recipient
•    On fold-over notes, you can begin writing above or below the fold, whichever allows room for your sentiment
•    Does it matter how you insert your card into your envelope? Not really, but tradition states to “insert the open, or unfolded, edge first.”
•    If someone goes above and beyond the call of duty, compose a letter of commendation to his or her supervisor and send him or her a copy. When doing so, be sure to include specifics of where, when, why, and how the employee exceeded your expectations.