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Sharon Schweitzer: Protocol and Etiquette Worldwide

With friends and family heading back home, now is the time to shower them with a simple note of appreciation.

A little goes a long way, especially when you want to say thanks. With friends and family heading back home, now is the time to shower them with a simple note of appreciation. Sharon Schweitzer, Founder of Protocol and Etiquette Worldwide, shows us what to say and how. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter @WeAreAustin and find us on Facebook at We Are Austin Lifestyle Show.

"U.S. and International Thank You Note Advice from Business Etiquette Expert, Sharon Schweitzer"

1.Send thanks for a gift or gesture: A note should be sent when someone does something special or goes out of their way for you. The note can be as short as three sentences and should be sent when someone:

Gives you a gift for a holiday, birthday, bar mitzvah, wedding or baby shower

Sends you a special delivery of cake balls, flowers or Korean pears

Hosts a banquet, party, dinner, shower or soiree in your honor

Invites you to a party, concert, symphony, SXSW, opera or gala

Invites you for a stay in their home, beach or lake house, ranch or yacht

Writes a business recommendation or reference

Refers a client or business

2.Invest in personal stationery: Clothes may make the man; however, with thank you notes, high quality stationery makes the best impression. There is no substitute for nice stationery and hand-written thank you notes. Make the investment in fine, personalized stationery that is a reflection of your professionalism and individuality. Select the best quality stock you can afford, and customize stationery with your monogram or logo. Avoid cute, informal or over-done designs that don't translate well across borders.

3.Understand When You Should Send a Handwritten vs. Email Thank You Note: Email and texts have eclipsed letters and telephone calls in our worldwide economy and it is appropriate to send a thank you note by email. However, all etiquette experts agree on one thing: handwritten thank-you notes are brilliant, elegant, and absolutely necessary. When the giver sets aside both time and funds to select and send a special gift, spending 10 minutes to say thank you is an opportunity to build the relationship. Email, Facebook messenger, and text are lightning-fast but let's face it: they're free and easy, which makes them less valuable as gestures

4.Be Short, Sweet & Specific: In the first sentence of the note, say thank you and be appreciative. Thank the giver for the specific gift and include thanks for their time. The note does not need to be elaborate. It can be short and sweet.

5.Mention Why You Like the Gift: State why you like this gift and include an example of how you might use it, if applicable.

6.Sign with a Flourish & Mail Promptly: Sign with action words like 'Sincerely' or 'Kindest regards' which are formal and common in the international arena. In the U.S., closing with an informal 'All my best' or 'Best regards' is common, while 'Best' is passé. Mail the note within 24-48 hours.

Global Thank You Note Protocol

1.The U.S. and Australia are two of the most informal counties in the world, especially when compared to France and Japan at the other end of the spectrum.

2.Use a formal style, and avoid defaulting to the informal.

3.Begin the note with "Dear" and conclude with "Kindest regards," or "Sincerely"

4.Avoid abbreviations, contractions, negative words and slang which many cultures do not use or understand.

Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural consultant, an international protocol expert and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. Schweitzer is accredited in intercultural management, is a regular on-air contributor and has been quoted by Investor's Business Daily, Fortune, Inc., the New York Times and Bangkok Post. She is the best-selling, international award-winning Author of Access to Asia. For more of Sharon's insight, follow her on www.twitter.com/austinprotocol and www.facebook.com/protocolww.

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