By Debbie Kriegshauser
During my childhood, my mom instilled in me the social grace of writing thank-you notes. As a kid, I was taught to write them for birthday presents and visits to my girlfriends’ homes. As a teenager going after my first job, she insisted I write one after every interview I had.
I continue to write thank-yous now. And it’s backed by science. An August 31, 2018, Time article shared a research finding that writing “gratitude letters consistently put [the research subjects] in more positive spirits.” And this particular branch of research on happiness and positive psychology should be embraced as a business tactic by many in the business world, according to a variety of sources from Harvard Business Review to Fast Company. Even an article in The Atlantic extols the benefits of picking up the pen and sharing your appreciation with the people around you.
If you read through any of the research, you will probably come away with the knowledge that expressing gratitude is good for your soul.
As a student or new professional, I suspect that you are on the receiving end of many favors: Recommendation letters for jobs, scholarships, or grants; sponsorships for conference attendance or membership in state or national associations; or even some advice from the speakers who come to your classrooms or a mentor. Based on what I see on social media in the various forums for students of court reporting and captioning, perhaps someone helped you with some court reporting equipment, court reporting software, tripods, or repairs you needed. Perhaps you won a prize at a special court reporting session. The list is endless.
Thank-you notes are really appreciated and treasured by those of us working in the field. Not only that, thank-you notes make you stand out and build your relationships with us — that is, your network, now and for your future. We’ve even leveraged our networks to help you, too. In the past, my judge has contributed, and some of the vendors have stepped up to support you as well.
Please spread around the love. Receiving a thank-you note makes us feel all warm and fuzzy, too!
So, mastering the thank-you note is an essential tool in your arsenal. When you are out interning with people in the field or interviewing, please make sure you send thank-you notes. It’s not just good manners; it can be that little note that gets you hired. I can personally tell you that a thank-you made the difference once when I was a court reporter coordinator interviewing prospective reporters for a court reporter position opening. We had two candidates for one position at a time, and the two people were closely matched — they shared some skills and each had an edge over the other in one area. But one person wrote a thank-you letter that was received within a day of the interview, and the other person didn’t send one. That thank-you letter made all the difference in hiring. And the person eventually hired was a great asset.
If you stumble on what to write, there are plenty of suggestions on the internet for what to include and what to say. I know that the etiquette guidelines tell you to do it right away — and I agree! Do it as soon as possible. But better late than never!
And, in the meantime, thank you for taking the time to read this — and thank you for sending thank-yous to me! As a member of NCRA’s Student/Teacher Committee, I have seen the hard work that all the committee members put into finding prizes for student sessions and any kind of bling for you all at the NCRA Conference & Expo, so it’s lovely to know that our hard work and investment is appreciated. I love when we receive your thank-you notes and look forward to reading them!
Debbie Kriegshauser, FAPR, RMR, CRR, CRC, CLVS, is an official court reporter based in Dallas, Texas. She has earned NCRA’s Realtime Systems Administrator certificate. She is a member of the Student/Teacher Committee. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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