Think of an letter of appreciation a bit like a cross between a thank you letter for nothing-in-particular (or everything in particular, more accurately), and a platonic love letter. You aren't necessarily thanking the letter recipient for any one thing or act, but are thanking the recipient for your relationship. Like love letters express your affection for a romantic partner, a letter of appreciation has a goal of telling other people- friends, family members, colleagues- how much you appreciate them.
Too often, we take the world- and people- around us for granted. An appreciation letter reminds those in your life about the difference they make, so get writing! Below are several tips to make your letters of appreciation best convey what you feel:
- Even before you begin writing, choose nice stationary, and remember a handwritten note will convey more sincere gratitude than a typed one will.
- After the date and greeting, start right in with what you mean to say. Remember, you do not need to say "I am writing to tell you..." because they already know you are writing; the evidence is in the reader's hands. Instead start along the lines of "Bob, in the twenty-five years I've worked at X company you have been a supportive boss to me, one I could be candid and open about both with the successes of our department and with any problems that arose." Or "Susie, you have been a great friend to me, always listening patiently, and dispensing good advice tactfully to me."
- Remember, if you are writing to a colleague ,or if you are writing this letter representing your place of employment to a person or group that has helped you recently, your tone will likely be more formal. If the person is an intimate, let your words reflect that. No matter who your audience is though, your writing style should sound natural, almost as if you were talking to the person.
- You can tell the recipient what qualities you have most appreciated in them, especially if the relationship is personal. People don't always realize what an effect they have on others, and sometimes can't see the good qualities in themselves so obvious to everyone else. Let them know what makes them great!
- If they did -or regularly do- something that brightens your days feel free to tell them how it affected you and/or your company or event.
- They and not you should be the focus of the writing. Keep personal news for a more casual correspondence.
- You can also reminisce a little bit about your past with the person. Happy memories can be fun for both you and the letter-reader.
- Though you could probably write a book about how great your friend is, less is more when it comes to sincerity in writing.
- Your closing words will vary but "Sincerely" or "With much appreciation are always good benedictions to close with.
If you want to know more about writing Letters of Appreciation, read these articles:
How to Write and Appreciation Letter
How to Write a Letter of Appreciation