How to Write the Perfect Thank You Note for a Guest Speaker

How to Write the Perfect Thank You Note for a Guest Speaker

Giving a presentation in front of an audience is no easy feat. As the event organizer, it is important to show your appreciation to guest speakers who take time out of their busy schedules to share their knowledge and experiences. Sending a thoughtful thank you note is a meaningful way to express your gratitude.

Section Content
Why Send a Thank You Note? – Shows appreciation
– Leaves a positive impression
– Encourages future participation
– Promotes goodwill
– Boosts morale
– Enhances reputation
When Should You Send It? – Small events: 2-3 days
– Large conferences: 1 week
– Email for quick notes
– Allow time for postal delivery for mailed notes
How to Format Your Thank You Note – Handwritten Notes
– Emails
– Letters
– Videos
– Social Media Shoutouts
What to Include in Your Thank You Note 1. Proper Salutation
2. Express Appreciation
3. Highlight Specifics
4. Note Results & Reactions
5. Reflect the Occasion
6. Closing & Signature
Sample Thank You Notes – Short Generic Note
– Detailed Handwritten Note
– Thank You Email
– Creative Video Thank You
Do’s and Don’ts – Do: Send notes promptly
– Personalize
– Be thoughtful
– Share specific feedback
– Don’t: Be rushed
– Forget to send
– Be insincere
– Re-use copied material
Key Takeaways – Send customized thank you notes promptly
– Express sincere appreciation
– Tailor messages to the occasion and audience response
– Use email, card, or video

This comprehensive guide provides tips and examples to help you craft the perfect thank-you message for your guest speaker.

Why Send a Thank You Note?

There are several important reasons to send a thank you note:

  • Shows appreciation. A thank you note demonstrates that you value the speaker’s time and effort in supporting your event. This is just a common courtesy.
  • Leaves a positive impression. Your note will be remembered and help form lasting positive impressions of you and your organization.
  • Encourages future participation. When speakers feel appreciated, they will be more inclined to lend their expertise at your future events.
  • Promotes goodwill. Thank you notes promote goodwill between you and the speaker, and can help build ongoing relationships.
  • Boosts morale. Your note will uplift the speaker and remind them that their efforts made a difference. This boosts their morale and self-esteem.
  • Enhances reputation. Your prompt thank you note will enhance your reputation and your organization as gracious, thoughtful and professional.

When Should You Send It?

  • Send your thank you note as soon as possible after the speaking engagement. This shows you truly value the speaker’s contribution.
  • For small events, aim to send it within 2-3 days of the speaker’s presentation.
  • For large conferences with multiple speakers, send notes within 1 week.
  • If sending by mail, allow extra time for postal delivery. Email notes arrive instantly.
  • Better late than never! If time has passed, send a note anyway acknowledging your tardiness and gratitude.

How to Format Your Thank You Note

You can send thank you notes in several formats:

Thank You Notes

Handwritten Notes

A handwritten mailed note is the most traditional and heartfelt option. Choose a quality card with a blank interior to personalize your message. Use a legible writing style to convey your sincerity.


Email is fast and convenient. Craft a thoughtful message in the body of your email. Include the speaker’s formal name, event details and a paragraph sincerely conveying your gratitude. Emails are best for quick thank-you notes.


A typed, formal letter mailed to the speaker can make your appreciation feel more official and thoughtful. Print your message on professional letterhead representing your organization.


Creative thank you videos are a high-tech way to showcase your immense gratitude. Record a brief personalized video message and send the speaker a digital file or YouTube link.

Social Media Shoutouts

If appropriate, you can also thank speakers publicly via social media by posting on your organization’s accounts or tagging the speaker in a post. This shows followers how much they contributed.

What to Include in Your Thank You Note

Make your life easier by following this outline when drafting your note:

1. Proper Salutation

  • Address the speaker formally by their title and last name. For example, “Dear Mrs. Jones” or “Dr. Smith”.
  • If the relationship feels appropriate and less formal, use just their first name.
  • For emailed notes, include the appropriate salutation on the first line.
  • For written notes, address the speaker in the salutation on your notecard or letter.

2. Express Appreciation

  • Open your note by thanking the speaker for their time, expertise and effort in supporting your event.
  • Use phrases like “Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule”, or “It was an honor to have you speak at our event”.
  • Mention the date and name of the specific event or presentation.

3. Highlight Specifics

  • Provide thoughtful compliments about their presentation and contribution:
  • What impressed you about their particular insights or expertise?
  • How did they capture the audience’s attention and interest?
  • What memorable examples, stories, or visuals did they use?
  • How was their presentation uniquely relevant to your audience?
  • The more detailed observations you can mention, the more meaningful your note will feel.

4. Note Results & Reactions

  • Mention any positive results, reactions, and feedback from their talk:
  • Did it lead to a lively Q&A session?
  • Did attendees line up afterward to compliment the speaker?
  • Did you receive enthusiastic feedback about how much they enjoyed and learned from the presentation?
  • Quantify results when possible:
  • An increase in membership or donations due to their inspiring message
  • The highest attendance your event has ever had
  • A survey showing 95% of attendees rated the talk “excellent”

5. Reflect the Occasion

  • Consider the type of event and adapt your message to fit the occasion. For example:
  • Ceremonial: “Thank you for giving such an impactful and meaningful speech at our commencement ceremony.”
  • Motivational: “Your uplifting words and inspirational stories left us feeling energized and empowered.”
  • Educational: “The insightful practical tips you provided gave our students valuable skills they can apply in the classroom.”

6. Closing & Signature

  • Close your note with a final statement of gratitude and appreciation.
  • For formal notes, include your formal name and title. For casual notes, sign with your first name only.

Sample Thank You Notes

Use these sample thank-you notes as templates when crafting your own:

Short Generic Note

Dear Mrs. Channing,

Thank you for taking the time to speak at our corporate retreat on Friday. Your insights into building strong leadership teams were extremely valuable for us. It was a pleasure having you share your wisdom and experience!

Roger Smith
Event Coordinator
ABC Company

Key Features:

  • Simple salutation + speaker’s name
  • Express appreciation
  • Note positive impact and value gained
  • Closing statement of gratitude
  • Formal signature including name and title

Detailed Handwritten Note

Dear Sanjay,

It was such an honor to have you speak at yesterday’s commencement ceremony. Your personal story of perseverance to achieve your dream of becoming an engineer was truly inspiring. Your words so moved the graduates, many came up afterward with tears in their eyes to thank you.

The response from the audience was incredible – I don’t think I’ve ever heard such thunderous applause! Your speech will certainly be remembered as a highlight by our graduates for years to come. We are so grateful you shared your time and wisdom with us.

Warm regards,

Key Features:

  • Sincere salutation with first name
  • Note it was an honor + mention event by name
  • Compliment inspiring personal story & results (tears, applause) that made it memorable
  • Closing statement of being grateful they gave time & wisdom
  • Closing with warm wishes + first name signature

Thank You Email

Dear Ms. Thompson,

On behalf of our team at CaterSmart Events, thank you for speaking at the Midwest Hospitality Conference on Monday. Your informative presentation on trending catering techniques gave our audience invaluable insights and innovative ideas to improve their businesses.

We’ve received extremely positive feedback from attendees who said your talk was the most valuable session they attended all week! The helpful recommendations you provided will no doubt assist them in delighting their own clients for events this coming year. We also appreciate you taking time to answer so many thoughtful questions from the audience.

Thanks again for sharing your catering and culinary expertise. It was a pleasure having you be part of our 2023 conference.

Richard Schmidt
Director of Events
CaterSmart Events

Key Features:

  • Professional salutation + speaker’s last name
  • Express appreciation + mention conference name and date
  • Give positive feedback and quantify value from attendees
  • Note praiseworthy presentation skills like Q&A involvement
  • Thank them again for sharing expertise
  • Sign with your name and professional title

Creative Video Thank You

Record a brief thank you video featuring:

  • Your smiling face thanking them enthusiastically
  • A compliment on something memorable from their talk
  • Noting 1-2 positive outcomes or reactions to their presentation
  • Sincerely telling them how much you appreciate their dedication and effort
  • Encouraging them to speak at your next event

Getting creative with a video message can really show you went the extra mile!

Do’s and Don’ts


  • Send thank you notes promptly after the event
  • Personalize your message for each speaker
  • Make it sincerely thoughtful, not generic
  • Share specific positive feedback and reactions
  • Express your genuine gratitude


  • Send a rushed, sloppy or overly casual note
  • Fail to send a note at all! Lack of appreciation discourages goodwill
  • Be overly effusive or gush insincerely
  • Re-use copied material in notes to multiple speakers

Key Takeaways

  • Promptly send each speaker a thoughtful customized thank you note after they present at your event.
  • Express sincere appreciation and provide specific compliments.
  • Tailor your message to reflect the occasion and audience response.
  • Follow up by email, handwritten card or video for maximum impact.
  • Remember, heartfelt recognition encourages future participation while lack of gratitude discourages it.

By sincerely acknowledging your speakers’ time and efforts through a thoughtful thank-you note, you will build important goodwill and motivate their ongoing support.

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