If, like I, you’re a fan of Jimmy Fallon, then most likely you’re familiar with his Friday night thank you notes. I have to admit when it comes to writing notes, thank you or otherwise, I am a bit of a lunatic. I still believe, in this age of electronic everything and instant gratification, there is a place for the printed word and, in the case of notes, the handwritten printed word. For me, sending notes began as a personal gesture and then expanded into my professional life.

From a professional standpoint, sending notes is a no brainer. Why wouldn’t you? What a great means to stay in touch, increase business opportunities and strengthen ties.

So here, in no particular order, is my top 10 list for celebrating the written note.

  1. The FYI Note – You read an article, come across an op-ed piece, see a political cartoon and know it would be of interest to an acquaintance. By all means, tear it out and send it with a note letting that person know you’re thinking of him/her. BTW, we do not recommend this if in a doctor’s office, hair salon or friend’s home.
  2. The Glad to Make Your Acquaintance Note – You’ve attended a trade show, conference, sales meeting and made a few new ‘friends’. Follow up the meeting with a note. Chances are you’ll have a greater likelihood of being remembered.
  3. The Interview Follow-up Note – Along the same lines as #2, you’ll stand a better chance of being remembered from a pool of applicants if you take the time to send a personal follow-up note.
  4. The Recognition Note – Receiving an award or honor is gratifying in and of itself. Having another person acknowledge your distinction is an added bonus.
  5. The ‘Atta Girl’ (or ‘Boy’) Note – If you know someone who recently quit smoking, lost weight, conquered an illness or is battling one, ran a marathon or achieved another milestone or personal best, by all means send him or her a note of encouragement.
  6. The Sympathy Note – A store-bought sympathy card is always a nice gesture but a personal note is exactly that, more personal. Losing a loved one is painful. Having that loss and pain acknowledged provides some comfort. This applies to pets as well.
  7. The Condolence Note – You’re probably thinking isn’t this note the same as #6, but sending a condolence note doesn’t necessarily have to be about death. A condolence note can cover a variety of losses. Heard you lost your job, heard your roommate is moving, heard about your break-up … of course the latter might fall into #5 or #8 ….
  8. The Congratulatory Note – Whether it’s a new job, graduation from an educational institution, the birth of a child or the birth of a new career, sending a note of congratulations is definitely a feel-good gesture … for you and the intended recipient.
  9. The Appreciation Note – Showing appreciation and recognizing an individual’s efforts lets that person know he or she is valued. Who couldn’t use some positive reinforcement from time to time?
  10. The Gratitude Note – And last but far from least is the traditional thank you note. People tend to equate thank you notes with gifts but keep in mind gifts can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes … and not all physical. Thank you for the delicious dinner, thank you for the job referral, thank you for helping me move, thank you for your support, thank you for your time. You get the picture.

As a final note – no pun intended – although a written, snail mail note is preferable, if the best you can do is an email note, at least it’s better than no note at all.