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You Can Get Incredible Value From Writing Thank You Notes

Wendy Kinney

Thank you notes show who you are.

The etiquette rule is: 
any time someone does something for you that 
takes them more than 15 minutes, 
or costs them more than $15, 
they deserve a thank you note.

There are stories of Presidents who earned the support required to get that job because of a habit of writing thank you notes every day.

Princess Diana is reported to have written her thank you note, while still dressed in her gown, immediately upon getting home from a party. She was beloved.

Twenty years ago, when starting my business, I decided to write a post card to every person I met with in person, every day. Then I got busy and stopped. In the past two years I’ve systematized the notes and the addressing (that’s the time consuming part for me - the addressing) so I can delegate this. (Yes, including my signature.) I often start the day with a meeting of 20 people. By end of the day a post card is in the mail to each of them. Two days later I start getting thank you emails. Mmm.

I personally write a thank you note to the hosts for every party I attend. They did a lot of work - (I know, I have 8 to 30 people for dinner 10 times a year, it’s expensive and it’s a lot of work.) - and I’m honored to have been invited.

A few times a year I receive a thank you note. I keep them on a board near my desk to remind me that I am doing good work. There are six up right now. The last one says

Dear Wendy, 
I so enjoyed having coffee with you and getting to know you better! 
Not to mention how kind it was of you to help me improve my InfoMinute stories! 
Thank you so much! 
Best wishes, Trish :)

Three lines and she made my day. 
There may be nothing I wouldn’t do for her.
Small investment on her part for unlimited good will on mine.

I’m under no illusions when I write a thank you note - 
I know it’s for my benefit,
to show who I am.

How to Make a Good Impression at a Restaurant

Wendy Kinney

The Question:

Should customers stack their own finished plates at a restaurant?


At a restaurant with service, and metal silverware, and cloth napkins, here are the rules.

1: When you sit down, put the napkin on your lap. (If you want to be very correct the fold is toward your hips, not toward your knees, but I don’t know who will ever check this!)

2: The napkin stays on your lap until you leave the table.
If you leave the table during the meal, leave the napkin on your chair. 
At the end of the meal place it beside — never on — your plate.

3: Good service requires all dinners to be served as simultaneously as possible because it is rude to begin eating before everyone has their food in front of them. There are no exceptions to this rule. (Just don’t. Even if they say “Please go ahead,” don’t. I say, “I’ll wait.” then smile and continue the conversation.)

4: The goal is for everyone to finish at about the same time. Which means pacing yourself, and your conversation. If you finish before everyone else (maybe because you weren’t contributing to the conversation?) do not ever

4a: push your plate away - your plate stays where it is, right in front of you.
4b: allow the server to take your plate - the goal is for everyone to have their plate removed at the same time - it is rude for plates to be removed when anyone is still eating.
4c: since it has become popular for individuals to act for their own convenience instead of courtesy to others, some servers will violate this rule. I’m often first finished. If the server moves to take away my plate I put my hand over it and say “I’ll wait until they’re done, with a smile.

5: If you drop a fork, leave it there. For the most part etiquette is about cleanliness and safety. You do not want the nasty fork that was on the floor to be on your table. Leave it there. When the server comes say, quietly, “I dropped my fork, may I please have another?” 
5a: If a glass falls, spills, breaks - the server cleans it up. If it’s a horrific mess everyone gets up, and moves away from the table so the server can clean up. Sometimes they will move you to another table, often they will just take a clean napkin and place it over the spill, and the conversation continues. Don’t make a big deal about it. Accidents happen. Thank the server for their service and continue the conversation.

6: There is never a time when it is appropriate for you, a guest, to stack plates at the table, the way you would if you were at a fast food restaurant and were going to throw them away. The china and cutlery is cared for. The servers care for it. If the server stacks plates (very good servers don’t) so they can clear the table more evenly, or quickly, that’s their decision. It’s a style issue for the restaurant, and they’ve been trained whether that is appropriate for their guests.

The most important thing to remember is that dining is as much about the experience as about the food. Dining with others is a choreographed dance, or drama, that brings maximum pleasure. If you are just there to eat, do that at home, from a bowl, with a spoon, in front of the TV. When you are dining create an experience of grace and gratitude.

3-Way Impressions

Wendy Kinney

At last count, there were 281,421,906 people in the United States. It doesn’t matter so how many of them have met one of your sales people, but how many remember meeting a representative from your company.

Pass on this 3-way strategy to make your sales force more memorable:


To speak with someone you don’t know, start communicating with your eyes. The 10-foot rule is a good one. From about 10 feet away, make eye contact and smile before you say anything. Don’t rush it. Allow time for a visual first impression.


In his book “Networking with the Affluent,” Dr. Thomas Stanley argues that people recognize their peers by how they’re dressed. Check your hair, tie, make-up. Be pressed and polished. Check front and back. Be sure that the people you want to do business with recognize you as “one of them.”


A critical remark, whining tone, or a comment that belies frustration can be a real turn-off to someone you’re just meeting. Even if you’ve been stuck in traffic or exasperated by poor service, vent your frustration at the gym, not at a meeting. Give people strong reasons to want to know you better – not to avoid you as a crank.

More than a few of the 281 million people in the country are your competition. Make sure your sales pros outpace them with a strong first impression.

Holiday Networking

Wendy Kinney


“After the holidays, I’m going to …”

“At the first of the year, I’m going to …”

“When things get back to normal, I’m going to …”

Don’t let your sales pros use the holidays as an excuse to stagnate. Instead, encourage them to use the season of parties and fun to meet next year’s best clients and gate openers. Pass on these tips:

Holiday parties are terrific face-to-face opportunities to reconnect with people we know, who introduce us to people we don't. And because the atmosphere is festive, there’s time to have real conversations, get longer responses, and offer thoughtful suggestions. In fact, parties may be second only to the golf course as a great place to find out if you like someone, if they share your values, and if you can meet their requirements.

Kinda makes you want to go to a party, doesn’t it?!

Be sure to:


If a new acquaintance wants to get in touch after the holiday, make it easy.


Parties are for eating and drinking and talking and laughing. If you hand someone a brochure, they'll use it as a coaster. Save promo material for your follow through.


You can count on people asking what’s new. Be ready with an interesting answer. “Oh, you know, same old, same old” is a missed opportunity.


Having a conversation with someone you've never met before can seem uncomfortable. Work to find out what you have in common, and you've made a friend.

Lurking Isn't Networking

Wendy Kinney

In the world of networking, just like the online world, it’s easy to lurk at the edge, learning and observing but not really participating. But that’s not networking!  Business networking is “high touch,” and it requires full engagement. Pass on these guidelines to ensure your sales people are really taking advantage of their networking opportunities:


Maximize your networking time by participating in one weekly and two monthly groups. You’ll benefit in different ways from each. From some you’ll get industry education, business referrals, and community involvement. From others, you’ll be rewarded by social recreation and personal growth.


Once you join, don't just lurk! Ensure your networking success by serving in a visible position, so other members see you as a reliable, responsible, and contributing participant.


Everyone knows how difficult it can be to join a group already in progress. That’s why people lurk. Make it your mission to help those who come in after you by inviting new members to serve on your committee, introducing them to each other, scheduling a three-way lunch, or hooking them up with a prospective client.

Make a name for yourself: Networker.