A couple of months ago, I received a brief email from a professor who participated in a conference at Warwick:
“Hi, Just a quick thank you email, I really enjoyed the conference and found it really useful. Kind regards.”
The email concerned a conference which went smoothly, to my relief. We had well organized talks and the dinners were appreciated by every one. Although I was simply assisting the program committee, it was a nice touch by the professor and I appreciate the positive feedback. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes in conferences and it is a good feeling to get thumbs up especially if one has worked hard. I have made a mental note to do the same when I go to other well-organized events.
I feel that such thank you notes are not only good etiquette but also a useful habit. A short email is a good way to confirm the contact you made at the conference or had a useful discussion and coffee with. The email signature invariably has some sort of link to an academic profile page which the receiver may click to check the research interests, list of collaborators or relevant publications. Anyhow, if I ever need any assistance in some problem concerning the professor’s research area, I might just reply back to the email I received.
Interestingly, thank you notes have also been recommended after giving a job interview. So happy emailing! Remember, it does not cost a penny!