A common question I get about the Thank You Revolution is:

How do you write a thank you note exactly?

At first glance, that might seem like a ridiculous question. You just write. But I am a writer and for years that simple question held me back.

Thank You Revolution Book cover
Do not let fear of writing hold you back from saying “thank you.” Here’s a formula for writing thank you notes. (Click to Tweet)

This is an excerpt from my book, Two Powerful Words: Revolutionize Your Work, Your Relationships, and Your Life with the Power of Gratitude! The book is full of inspiring stories, practical tips, and helpful resources to get you started at writing thank you notes and keep you going. You can get your copy here.

For far too long my fear of not knowing what to write kept me from expression gratitude to others. It held back my career, limited my income, and definitely hurt some relationships.

Then I wrote one. And another. And another.

And they were almost identical to each other.

I have inadvertently developed a formula. And it was working very well.

I was soon writing thank you notes en masse. Two here, three there. Ten or more in a week. And it was so easy.

People were commenting on them. I was getting return notes. The revolution was spreading in my sphere of influence.

The formula for writing thank you notes

Here is what I use and an example “thank you” email:

  • Greeting
  • First paragraph: One sentence. “Thank you for ______.”
  • Second paragraph: Two sentences. What it meant to me, how I will use their help, I couldn’t have done it without you, etc.
  • Third paragraph: One or two sentences. “Thank you again” and any closing remarks.
  • Closing and signature

Here is an example:

Hi Mark,

Thank you so much for the referral to .

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I had a great talk with Joe and we are planning another call next week to finalize the contract. I look forward to working with such a great company.

Thank you again and please let me know when you will be in Chicago next. I would love to swing over and catch up over lunch.

All the Best,


Yes, it really is that simple.

Do not let fear of writing hold you back. You might not even follow that formula. Make your own. I made my own.

If you are struggling for words, you might literally write something as simple as this:


Thank you for helping with the company retreat.

I could not have pulled it off without your help.

If I can ever return the favor, please let me know.


Don’t try to be Shakespeare here. Write from the heart.

Thank them, express the meaning, and offer to return the favor, or meet soon, or something.

The act of expressing gratitude in written form is what matters.

If you are already a Revolutionary, it’s time to share. Do you have a formula? If so, what is it?


Text me anytime at (260) 217-4619.

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17 thoughts on “How to Write a Thank You Note | Thank You Revolution

  1. Carol Dublin says:

    Great instruction Matt. I think you are right that not knowing what to write stops a lot of people. I can’t say that I have a formula, I just keep it short and sweet. Helps me be more sincere to get right to the point. Love being part of “The Revolution!”

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      That’s why I recommend the typical thank you note card size. Not sure exactly what it is but it’s approximately 6″ X 4″ and not folded. If you throw your name at the top in 20-point font, it leaves just enough room for a heartfelt, short and sweet note.

      1. Jana Botkin says:

        4-1/4 x 5-1/2 – a sheet of 8-1/2×11 folded into quarters works. Don’t let not having stationery be an excuse! (Self-promo warning) Find good simple cards at http://www.cabinart.net/cards/ (Matt, delete this comment if it is too pushy, please!)

  2. Katherine Leicester says:

    Terrific. One of the few reasons I still use the US Postal service is to mail handwritten thank you notes. Blows people away.

    1. Jana Botkin says:

      It does, Katherine! People thank me for the thank you notes and say they feel as if they have received a gift. So, someone blesses you with something; you bless them back with a note; they bless you back with a thank you for the note! Great ROI!

      1. Matt McWilliams says:

        I’m creating an infographic of sorts on thank you notes and part of it talks about the cycle that it creates…one single note can start a firestorm. Kind of cool.

      2. Katherine Leicester says:

        Way cool.

      3. Katherine Leicester says:

        “The ROI of Thanks.” I feel a blog post coming on!

    2. Matt McWilliams says:

      That and I still like paper magazines (all two that I read).

      Other than getting those and sending thank you notes and occasion cards, I can’t think of a single piece of regular mail I have sent through USPS.

      1. Katherine Leicester says:

        Yeah, I take American Bungalow magazine, stunning architecture that feels better in a magazine. But that’s it.

  3. Dan Erickson says:

    Great simple process, Matt. Simplicity is the key to most any writing and thank-you notes are no exception.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      That’s tweetable 🙂

  4. Charly Priest says:

    Finally I have a guide, wrote down the first one. It always seemed awkward to me writing a `thank you´ note. I thought either It seemed like I´m continually thanking too much or I was short on it coming out like a pompous person. To my delight it seems I wasn´t alone in the universe with this simple dilemma. Thanks for basic but useful tip. I like these little tips in life since a lot of people don´t give them too much thought.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      That’s awesome Charly!

  5. I like that you included the impact. That seems to be the most import and the more specific the better.

  6. Jon Stolpe says:

    Actually, I utilize this same formula when I write my Thank You Notes. Thanks again for the idea.

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      That’s awesome Jon!

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