5 reasons to send a handwritten note

Almost extinct – an antiquated notion: the hand-written card or letter. They’re not even teaching cursive writing in elementary schools anymore. Will cursive be as undecipherable as shorthand to all but people-of-a-certain-age soon?QuillPen

For years, in business, the hand-written note has stood out, but it’s even more true today in the world of email, instant-messaging and text messaging. When my kids were growing up, they couldn’t spend the gift money or play with the toy until they had written the thank-you note. Today, I find to my horror that even I accept a text or email “thank you” as appropriate; the important thing is that the gift is acknowledged. I also feel that an email follow-up after a meeting or interview is appropriate, because here, speed counts. But when time is not a factor, there are still some advantages of the hand-written note:

1. They STILL stand out. A hand-addressed envelope in a stack of electronically-addressed junk mail or bills always gets opened first.

2. You get credit for effort. Any recipient of such a note will feel very special. You took the time to pull out a card or piece of stationery, craft a personal message and write in your best cursive handwriting.

3. Bonus consequences. Recent studies by non-profit organizations have shown that a donor is 38% more likely to donate again when they receive a hand-written Thank You for a donation.

4. They allow enclosures. When you follow-up via mail with someone with whom you only have a virtual relationship, you can enclose a business card, post-it pad or other small product bearing your contact info that will serve as a reminder of you and your company.

5. They’re fun! (and personality-revealing) How fun is it to receive a card or letter in the mail, see the type of card or writing paper chosen, look at the handwriting. (Even if you’re not a trained handwriting analyst, you can tell a lot from someone’s handwriting…).

Books on gratitude suggest that we thank someone around us for something at least once a day. In my old life of employee motivation, a hand-written Thank You from a salesperson or customer service rep increased re-purchase intent. A hand-written (personal & specific) note from a boss means as much or more to an employee than the incentive award itself. A hand-written note very simply shows that you care.

Find a fun card or great stationery and write a personal handwritten note today to that special employee, customer or family member and see what happens. (Oh: and #6: YOU feel better when you do!).