Writing Tips:Thank You Notes And Letters

What You Say In A Thank You Note Or Letter: Choose Words That Sparkle
by Gene Griessman, Ph.D.

When it comes to writing messages of appreciation, many people use the same old words over and over again, seldom using a vivid, fresh one.

If you want to make your messages beautiful, break out of your vocabulary rut. Quit relying on a handful of hackneyed words and phrases such as “Thank you very much for the fine job you did. Everyone who heard you said it was a fine presentation.”

Who would ever want to remember, quote, or keep such a message?

A thank you note or letter is an excellent place to try something different. Because you will use very few words—and I strongly recommends that your message be brief—you can take the time necessary to make your words glow.

When you write a message of appreciation, use words that add a touch of spice to your note or letter. Kelly Browne, in her book “101 Ways To Say Thank You,” has compiled a list of fabulous words that you can use. Browne calls her list “The Thank-You Thesaurus”

Here are Browne’s colorful words:

amazing, astonishing, astounding, attractive, awe-inspiring, beautiful, beyond belief. bright, brilliant, colorful, dazzling, excellent, exceptional, extraordinary, fabulous, fine-looking, generous, gleaming, glistening, glowing, good-looking, gorgeous. hard to believe, incandescent, inconceivable, incredible iridescent, lively, lovely, luminous, marvelous, miraculous, multicolored, out-of-this world, outstanding, radiant, remarkable, rich, shimmering, shining, sparkling, spectacular, splendid, startling, striking, stunning, surprising, unbelievable, vibrant, vivid, wonderful

It is amazing what you can do with just the right word. You can make prose sound like poetry. That’s what Hemingway did. In fact the poet Derek Walcott called the best of Ernest Hemingway’s prose “an achievement superior to anything in poetry.”

But don’t resort to high-flown verbiage. That will sound artificial and insincere.  In many instances, just one shimmering word—perhaps chosen from Kelly Browne’s list or a word that her list suggests—can make your message gleam. And be kept, remembered, and cherished.

Just in case you didn’t notice, I used some words from Kelly Browne’s list to write this post. It was a lovely exercise.

You can do it too.  Just keep the list in front of you and look for ways to substitute some of the words on Browne’s list for your own over-used ones.  This will transform your personal messages or even your business communication from dull and forgettable into striking and vivid

Source: “101 Ways To Say Thank You” by Kelly Browne (Sterling: NY and London, 2008 www.sterlingpublishing.com)


The Words Lincoln Lived By

“This is a book to cherish and share.”—Bill Marriott, CEO, Marriott International, Inc.

“Not only does Griessman give us Lincoln quotes, but he also weaves each one into a little jewel of an essay on that particular subject.” Wayne C. Temple, renowned Lincoln scholar, Illinois State Archives

A stirring, inspirational treasury of quotations from our greatest and most admired president, the book offers rich material for interpretation, reflection, and spiritual guidance.

You will also enjoy Lincoln Speaks To Leaders by Gene Griessman and Pat Williams.

Don’t leave yet. You’ve found a goldmine. Check out additional power phrases and unusual quotations.



Gene Griessman is an internationally known keynote speaker, actor, and communication strategist. His book “TheWords Lincoln Lived By” is in its 23rd printing and “Time Tactics of Very Successful People” is in its 43rd printing. His training video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions and annual meetings all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, call 404-435-2225. Learn more at Atlanta Speakers Bureau or at his website. His latest book “Lincoln and Obama” has just been released by Audible.
This entry was posted in Business Advice, Writing/How To Write letters, notes,articles, email, books and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.