“Thank you for always being there for me even when I’m being a pain in the rear.”
For some people those two words are just difficult to say. No matter how much you appreciate a person, no matter how deep your gratitude, it’s sometimes hard to express. But there are times when it is absolutely essential. Administrative Professionals’ Day is one of them. If it’s hard for you to say the words, perhaps you should try writing a thank-you note.
- Thank-you notes give your mind time to choose the right words.
- A Thank-you note is personal between you and the recipient.
- Thank-you notes can be reread whenever she gets irritated at you
Writing thank-you notes is a forgotten art.
Our grandmothers could teach us a thing or two about writing them. There was a time when etiquette demanded that you write a note for every Christmas or birthday gift, any act of kindness, every invitation, and every display of hospitality. Oh I can remember Grandma sitting and writing thank-you notes to the garbage man, the mail man, the milk man (do you remember milk men?) and all the other people who provided her a service. When my sister got married, I was in charge of writing down the name and item of each gift she received so she could write dozens of thank you notes. Maybe that’s why I eloped!
Now thank-you notes are few and far between.
The ones that you get at work are often on company letter head paper, using a word processing program to correct grammar and spelling, and signed by unknown person with a fancy title in her signature block. But when you think of all the things that an administrative professional does in a day, you realize that there is no one as worthy of a sincere hand written note, one that carries your gratitude in your own personal words and your own personal style.
To write a thank-you note to your office administrative professional, you need only three things:
- An understanding of what the person does
- An idea of what to put in a thank-you note
- And the pen and paper used to write it.
What an Administrative Professional Does
You automatically think of the older lady sitting at the computer all day, typing correspondence and reports for the office. But she is so much more. She is the communicator in the office, the one who speaks for the office on phone calls and reads all the mail coming in to understand what needs done and who to route it to. She is the one who listens to what people need and knows how to get it. And she is often the one who writes much of the correspondence going out of the office and edits the rest. She knows how to schmooze executives, clear paper jams from the copy machine, and how to order office supplies. This person is the traffic cop who directs traffic coming into the office and redirects people who you really don’t need to see. She can make your travel arrangements while simultaneously arguing with the facilities people about the air-conditioning in the office. In the words of one of my absolute favorite comic strip characters, Maxine – Be nice to your Administrative Professional, or plan on covering your own butt from now on.Be nice to your Administrative Professional, or plan on covering your own butt from now on. - Maxine Click To Tweet
What to Put Into A Thank-You Note
In her article, “How to Write a Thank You Note,” Jeanne Field provides a basic template for a good thank-you note.
- Make it Personal. This is not “To Whom It May Concern.” Use proper forms of title (Mr., Mrs., Dr., Pastor, Captain, Aunt) or, when appropriate, first names.
- Express your Thanks. Say thank you first; make it be the first thing they read. “Thank you for. . .” or “I am so grateful for . . .” or “I appreciated your . . .”
- Add details. Tell the way in which what she does is useful to you. Tell what her actions meant to you or how they made your life easier.
- Look Ahead. Tell what you want for the future. “I hope we will continue our great working relationship.” Or “Because of you, I can now . . . “
- Restate your Thanks. Use different words, but express your appreciation a second time. “Again, thank you for . . .” or “I am so grateful for . . .”
- End with your regards. Sincerely is always appropriate, but it’s not real personal. If you used a first name in the greeting, the regards may warrant something a little warmer. “Yours Truly,” “With many regards,” “Your biggest fan,”
The note doesn’t have to be long winded. Thank you notes are usually better if they are not. A greeting, a few sentences and a closure and you are ready to give it away.
The Pen and Paper
Hallmark and Shoebox have cards for every occasion. But especially nice are the cards that are blank inside where you can write your note. 8” x 5” company stationary can be professional looking while still sincere. Use whatever paper you have available or prefer. The critical point here, is to hand write your note. Typed and printed thank-you notes can feel like mass produced form letters. A personalized hand-written note, feels real.
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