I was inspired by a recent LinkedIn post by my friend Joshua Baron, a criminal lawyer in Salt Lake City, who often writes about how to enhance your business relationships, and particularly how to turn business relationships into referrals or new business.

Josh wrote about the power of thank you notes – and how we can write stronger ones. Here’s what he said:

When writing a thank you note, be specific and use a story.

Instead of saying, “You’re a great lawyer,” say,

“I remember the first time I saw you in court. You were arguing a suppression motion and you did a great job humanizing your client. They were charged with cocaine possession, but you made the judge see the client’s family and work obligations. You lost the hearing, but I remember thinking, ‘I would be fine with the result if that were my lawyer.’”

Obviously don’t write those exact words. But:

(1) Look for a specific trait or skill you want to highlight. (You did a great job humanizing your client.) And

(2) Think of a story that illustrates that trait. (I remember the first time I saw you in court.)

If you’re not specific and if you don’t use a story to illustrate it, the recipient will mentally filter out your compliment.