On & Around the Street

How To Write The Perfect Thank-You Note By Etiquette Trainer Myka Meier

With more of us holidaying at home this year, descending upon friends and family for our summer breaks, we asked international etiquette trainer Myka Meier for her tips on how to write the perfect thank you note after a sojourn with friends or family. 

New York-based Myka is the bestselling author of Modern Etiquette Made Easy and has helped thousands of people to master the finer points of good manners as the founder of Beaumont Etiquette and co-founder of The Plaza Hotel Finishing Program

When the former Londoner is back in town, she is a regular on the genteel streets of Chelsea and can often be spotted on Sloane Street stocking up on stationery at Smythson, which she always recommends to students and uses for all of her personal correspondence.   

Here, Myka shares her advice on how to write the perfect thank you note, from how to select your stationery to what ink to use, and even how you should never start a letter…

Myka Meier

By Myka Meier

 In a time when people mainly communicate electronically, it’s so lovely and always a surprise to receive a handwritten thank-you note, which means the person took the added time, making the recipient feel extra special.

Stationery can be used to send a simple note to say hello or as a tangible form of gratitude.

When picking out stationery, you may choose to either have a flat card (the most traditional choice for correspondence), or a folded card. Both are appropriate; it’s simply a matter of style preference. 

When selecting your stationery, the point is to choose a motif or design that not only reflects your personal style but will also bring joy to the person who is receiving it. 

I always use Smythson correspondence cards because there’s such a great selection of options for every occasion, from formal to fun. I have a collection of styles from which I can make a selection, depending on the tone of the note.

For example, to thank a new acquaintance who had me over to dinner, perhaps I’d use my classic navy monogrammed Smythson stationery. If I’m sending something to a close friend, I’ll choose something a bit more playful but still elegant, such as the beautiful silver moon cards instead. 

When it comes to choosing which colour ink to use, black ink tends to be more formal than blue ink.

As for the composition, here is how to write the perfect thank you note:

Myka Meier's Smythson stationery

The way you address the person should
reflect the formality of your relationship. Formally, it may be most appropriate to say, “Dear XX,”. However for a close friend, perhaps you could simply start off with their first name. Such as, “Beverly,”. 

Start with
how something made you feel. For example, “I was so excited when I opened…” Pro tip: Never start a thank you letter with the words “Thank you…” It is too expected and often causes the person reading to flash over the remainder of the note.

Now it’s time to actually use those words of gratitude, showing exactly what you are thankful for.
“Thank you for… such a thoughtful gift, a lovely evening, a relaxing stay… etc”.

Closing the letter. Wrap up your note with a line that expresses an intention for the future. Something like, “I’m so looking forward to seeing you next month”, or “I hope we can return your hospitality soon”. 

Similar to your opening,
your sign off should reflect the formality of your relationship. Formally, you may wish to sign off with “Best wishes,” or “Warmest regards”. Informally, a simple “Love,” may do the trick!

Myka's thank-you note on Smythson stationery
Smythson Thank You Floral Notelets, £29
Smythson Ribbon Thank You Cards, £35
Smythson Thank You Notelets, £27