Times may have changed, but courtesy never goes out of style. In today's world sometimes it's complicated to figure out how to do the right thing. Local etiquette expert Karen Hickman answers your questions or helps solve your dilemmas on Fridays in The News-Sentinel and at news-sentinel.com.
Q. Karen, when is it appropriate to send a written thank-you note and when do I send a typed thank-you letter?
Handwritten thank-you notes still remain a mark of distinction and are something I recommend people continue to write.
However, there are times when a typed thank-you letter is needed.
Typically, handwritten thank-you notes are sent after a person has been entertained, received a gift or been interviewed for a job. These notes should be short (three to five sentences are usually enough) and written on good-quality notecards.
Thank-you letters are typed on company letterhead or plain, business-sized, good-quality paper. A typed letter can be used when thanking people for hiring you, using your company and your services, or even for an interview when you want to add more detail than in a handwritten thank-you note.
Some other points to remember:
•Ideally, send a thank-you note within 24 hours. The sooner it is sent, the more impact it will have. In many international cultures, more than 24 hours would be a huge faux pas. Be sure to do your homework when doing business with internationals.
•Use high-quality writing paper with a good pen.
•Don't get too cute with your notecards — less is more.
•Make sure your writing is legible. If you have to type a thank-you note, be sure you mention that you are doing so because of illegible writing.
•Always sign a note or letter in your own hand.
•Use a salutation and closing that suits the situation. When in doubt as how to address someone, err on the side of formality; it will never be wrong.
•Don't forget to take care in addressing the envelope.
•If you have been interviewed by multiple people for a job, each person gets his or her own thank-you note or letter.