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There is a permanence to the written word that makes a letter of congratulations a tonic that lasts a lifetime. Be it a birthday, a promotion, a victory in a sporting event or an acknowledgement of work well-done, there is no substitute for a personalized note or personalized card. And unless you have chicken-scratch penmanship, it should definitely be hand written.

Let the recipient know how you heard the news and how happy you are for them. If you've passed the word along to others who know the recipient, describe the delighted reactions you received. Tell them how personally proud you are of their achievement and wish them continued good luck in the future.

In the case of a workplace congratulations, let your team or subordinates know when they have performed well. A personalized note means more than a verbal pat on the back. It builds confidence and workplace pride.

  • Handwritten (unless you scribble worse than a prescribing physician)
  • Tell how you heard the news and how happy it made you
  • Acknowledge their effort and express your pride in their accomplishment
  • Spread the word and report back the responses you noted
  • Workplace praise means more in a personalized note