Congratulations Letters :
Congratulations letters are warmly and happily received, unlike so many other forms of correspondence. Thanks letters are their first cousin and should be written in the same way. Some books differentiate between the two but we find this unhelpful. Get your core letter down and use it for both things.
Guiding Rule : You cannot congratulate or thank people enough. Be generous to a fault with these letters, faxes, and emails. The only restraining note is dont send too many to the same people. Spread the wealth to your associates, friends, colleagues, teachers, children, childrens friends, children's parents, organizations, and public institutions and officials.
Tips & Hints :
1. Personalize your correspondence IN Congratulations Letters.
· Insert details to show you have paid attention to just what they have done to earn your congratulations.
· Be specific: mention and support the exact thing they havedone, award received, or event participated in.
· Avoid referring to the congratulator as a group, such as acompany, organization, or family.
· Instead list the key people, or all the people from the group,small company, organization, or family.
· At a minimum, list the names and then add the group name.
2. Use friendly warm words and phrases.
· Avoid phrases such as "On behalf of...."
3. Start with them not you.
· You have done such wonderful work to graduate with honors,get promoted, get married, or whatever.
· Your trip sounds grand and you should tell us all about it whenyou get back!
· Not, - We are so proud of you for - or - We went to London too,and enjoyed it a lot on our honeymoon.
· It is about them not you.
4. Don't apologize for being late, not attending, or whatever.
· In other words, avoid putting your foot in the bucket.
· Be happy, straightforward, with no back and forths in your writing.
These four tips will take you a long way. Print them out as a checklist compared to your correspondence. What follows are a few adaptable examples.
Wrong Example :
Living in New York City has its good points. The downside is being so far away from family and friends. I'm so sorry I couldn't be at your wedding on Sunday but I was certainly there in spirit.
Congratulations and have a wonderful life together.
The main problem with this letter is that it focuses on the writer not the recipient.
Right Example :
New York was such an exciting choice you made! At your age, you can go everywhere and see everything. What fun!
You have a lot of guts and good sense to take a shot at the Big Apple. What a fun way to start your marriage and have so many good times together.
Well done and have fun together.
Note the emphasis is on their lives and the good times in front of them. Nothing ponderous or negative about your not attending the wedding or making proclamations about larger issues such as a wonderful life together. The second letter has a much softer ring with good times together.
Use this as your model for congratulations.
Letter : In this case a written letter is absolutely the most personal and therefore best vehicle to provide your support to others. However, good today is better than great tomorrow. So a quick email, especially if you don't have their physical address, can be lovely too.
Email : More distant relations, such as an associate being promoted or the child of a friend graduating from a school or college, can be more appropriately dealt with by an email, which is less personal and yet timely.
Fax : Faxes are usually inappropriate for congratulations unless you have that kind of relationship with the party in question. Better a letter or email, depending on the level of formality.
Examples of Adapting the Core Letter to Other Congratulations.
· Copy and paste the letter into word or an email.
· Then modify.
Here is an example :
Dear Minister, Preacher, Priest, Rabbi, or Decorating Group,
Your decoration choices were so exciting and vivid! Your personal touch made the room look so marvelous.
You had a lot of guts and good sense to emphasize those vivid colors.
What fun you created!
Well done and thanks again for such a good job.
Notes : The model helps you personalize and be sure you hit the high notes without the low notes such as I am sorry I didn't go to church that day and so on and so on.
Many books show letters emphasizing apologies, or the you in the event. If you find yourself doing that, stop, drop, and roll, as the fire department says. This is NOT about you.
Situation : John, your former boss, has been promoted to a much larger job at another company. You didn't write for six months but are doing so now.
Yes, you are late. But, in the spirit of the glass being half full, probably very few and possibly no one wrote John a letter of congratulations.
Wrong Letter :
Shame on me. I was so preoccupied with my own issues here so didn't congratulate you on your great promotion!
Right Letter :
Your new job sounds fabulous and so well deserved. Everyone here, starting with Pam, Peter, and Mary, is so excited that your new company recognized your merits and gave you such a fabulous promotion.
We wish they did it here!
Best from all of us, and especially Pam, Peter, and Mary and me!
Note : If you are going to congratulate, do so. No hemming and hawing. That is worse than not writing at all. Yes, you were six months late, but were you? Who else wrote? You did write. So cut the negative and emphasize John's successes.
Summary :In this CD we do not want to over constrain your work with too many choices. We want you to get down a good congratulations letter and save it for later reference. If the recipient responds to your letter or note, be sure to make notes on the saved letter for next time what seemed to work, what didn't, what you might have added, and so forth.
Adapt your model letter to new situations as they develop. It will make the process simpler and better. A nice twofer for you!
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