My Grandmother, Mammy, used to take months to painstakingly knit ghastly itchy sweaters and send them to my sister, Margo, and me for the holidays. Scarves, too.
At least Margo’s were in semi-pleasant colors but mine were usually green. Mammy knew that Emerald was my birth month’s color and she didn’t take into account that I looked like a turtle in that color.
Mom had a rule: you must write a thank you note within the week. I’d wrack my little brains and come up with something pathetic like: Dear Mammy, Thank you for the nice sweater. Love, Lois.
Mom put the kibosh on that and sent me back to my desk. Eventually, I’d come up with something half decent, longer anyway:
Dear Mammy, The green sweater is very warm and will come in handy this year as the winds are howling here in Long Beach. Thank you for knitting it for me, and spending all that time to make me a nice sweater like this one. Love, Lois
Mom smiled. She was right, of course. It didn’t matter that I looked like a red eared tortoise in the sweater; I had to show my gratitude.
The idea holds in business too. When I spend time now to write notes to clients to thank them for the kind things they say about us, for their business, for a lunch we’ve had together, they appreciate it. Here are some ideas you might want to try:
· Write a hand-written thank you note and be specific about what you appreciated (at the meeting, or the gift, etc).
· An email thank you is nice as long as you also send the written one.
· I also try to remember birthdays. One time I was speaking about this on a podium and a lady raised her hand and said the only birthday card she got that year was from her oil burner man. That was sad. Made a birthday list and be sure to mail all the cards for that month in the beginning of the month.
· Send gifts to people who are important to you. This week I received a wonderful present from a friend in Canada: Red Olympic mittens. I love them, and the best part was that they were unexpected, although it is coldish in Miami these days.
· We’re all so over-booked every day, and so once every few weeks I write out cards “I miss you” so I don’t lose touch with people I care about. You might try that too. It feels good.
My friend Andrea Nierenberg, the Queen of Networking, writes three notes every day. I’ve gotten into the habit myself. You might try it too, and let me know how it works. Also, tell me your ideas here on comments!