In the past month I have had three Thank You “notes” emailed to me as a single-slide PowerPoint presentation.
Have you ever received a PowerPoint “Thank You” or have you created one?


If so, why did you choose to use PowerPoint as the means for expressing
your thanks and/or how did you feel getting a file as thanks?
These PowerPoint “Thank Yous” — all from different people of differing
ages and varied backgrounds and unique cultural dedications — are
standard run-of-the-mill “socially required” prose placed in a basic
PowerPoint template. There is no unique human thought or basic emotion
included in the file. I find those PowerPoint presentations colder than
a simple email saying “thanks.”

I was raised with the idea if someone did you a favor that pressed
their time your way you were required to send them a handwritten Thank
You Card — on paper! — explaining how much you appreciated the favor.
You had to be specific and engaging and charming in expressing your
thanks. The card was then placed in an envelope with a handwritten
address, stamped and mailed to the recipient through the United States
Postal Service for hand delivery.

It is rare today to receive any sort of Thank You — be it electronic
or paper — when you do a favor for someone. I am uncertain if the
reason for that lack of formally expressed gratitude is a growing tide
against manners or if it is just a result of the continued compression
of time into space where it is assumed by both parties if you do
someone a favor they are grateful by default even though they never
directly share their thanks.

You will, however, hear from them in every possible way — via email,
Pony Express, voice mail, Morse code, Western Union, carrier pigeon,
newspaper advertisement, FedEx Early AM delivery, sky-writing, poisoned
dart, attack dog or Registered letter — if they are in any way
displeased with your favor.

Posted by David Boles

David Boles was born in Nebraska and his MFA is from Columbia University in the City of New York. He is an Author, Lyricist, Playwright, Publisher, Editor, Actor, Designer, Director, Poet, Producer, and Boodle Boy for print, radio, television, film, the web and the live stage. With more than 50 books in print, David continues to write 2MM words a year. He has authored over 25K articles and published more. Read the Prairie Voice Archive at Boles.com | Buy his books at David Boles Books Writing & Publishing | Earn the world with David Boles University | Get a script doctored at Script Professor | Touch American Sign Language mastery at Hardcore ASL.

16 Comments

  1. I dislike receiving PPTs. I’d much rather receive a simple image or a simple (X)HTML file, as it doesn’t hog up as many resources

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  2. Hi Joe!
    Why do you think people use PPT files to say “thank you?”
    Do you have any thoughts about getting a handwritten note on paper?

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  3. I was raised the old way. You call to thank someone and then you follow it up in writing in a card. It’s the only way.

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  4. Hey soos!
    I wonder when the change from paper to electronic happened when it comes to thanking others?

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  5. It was probably when computers started coming up. I always liked ink from a fine pen on some rich paper as a thank you someone might keep.

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  6. Yeah, me too! There might not be a common instinct to save a handwritten thank you note but if you write it well and if you give it some meaning — handwriting will always be saved longer than electronic.

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  7. Sending PowerPoint as a thank you seems a little cold and sterile to me. If you want to go to all that effort, why not just write it out by hand and mail it?

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  8. I think people prefer speed over beauty, soos. They would rather send an email than make a phone call or write a card.

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  9. In that speed we all get a little bit farther away from each other.

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  10. Perfect, soos, perfect!

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  11. I’ve never received a Powerpoint thank you note, but I’m sure someone will send one sooner or later.
    I dislike any email message that is too large, too fancy, or too time consuming to deal with. It’s hard enough to sort through work and personal email trying to keep up with things.
    Getting a Powerpoint message is a sure way to make sure that I don’t look at it for a little while.
    I was in a social group that had people who loved making Powerpoint presentations for everything a while back. It got to be a joke because each presentation got to be more and more elaborate while the content became less and less.
    After a while, people would ask if someone brought their laptop so that we could look at the PP presentation.

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  12. Hi Chris!
    Oh, your PowerPoint “Thank Yous” are definitely in the pipeline somewhere! It’s the new easy way to look fancy and show your real fake emotion!😀
    I agree email should be simple and blunt. Don’t give me giant paragraphs to read.
    PowerPoint is big in a university setting. I ban them. I tell students to present what you want from your mind not the screen behind you.
    PowerPoint can be effective if the slides tease and lead — too often PowerPoint presentations are full of text and are just read to you. Ugh!

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  13. David, you are so right on. My former employer presents everything via PowerPoint. Boring Boring Boring, all text (which the presenter would read word for word)with a few pictures. When my wife saw one of their presentation binders she about puked (she is an instructional designer).It is like an email, in that there is no emotion. People are not being creative anymore, they just use the old standby’s.

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  14. Hi Rich!
    Yes! PowerPoint is killing us all slowly in fancy text overload!
    I am glad this path still upsets some people. I love your wife!😀

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  15. Kathakali Chatterjee April 20, 2006 at 9:45 pm

    A PowerPoint presentation should be like a tip of the iceberg; just barely noticeable. I feel cluttered slides are “pollution to the environment” – they ruin creativity, wipe out the listener’s/ viewer’s energy and waste time and effort – both.
    Sending “thank you” through a PowerPoint is obnoxious.

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  16. Hey Katha —
    I am absolutely with you on the misuse of PowerPoint in our lives!

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