You may think that I receive countless cards and letters from people I interact with since I am such a strong advocate of the written word. The reality is that my life is covered up with emails, texts, sticky notes and scribbles on small sheets of discarded computer paper – all written by me! The most common remark I hear from people is, “Oh no, I wish you wouldn’t have given me this gift, now I’m afraid to write you a thank you note,” as if I will bring my red pen out and critique their every word. For the record, I love any kind of handwritten thank you note, regardless of the choice of words, paper and penmanship. But receiving a beautiful note on a nice piece of card stock with a stamp, instead of a meter, is my favorite way to receive a special message. It tells me that this person spent a little extra time crafting a unique piece of correspondence, just for me.
We all have unique preferences on what we like to see when we receive a personal note, whether it’s in the form of a letter or card. I’m a pushover for multiple decorative postage stamps which make the envelope look cheerful and inviting. It doesn’t even matter if the postage exceeds the amount required to mail. I don’t open the card right away because I enjoy marveling at every detail of the envelope.
You can write a letter for any occasion and a thank you note to anyone who has given you a gift or made a favorable impression. Your time is precious and when someone receives a handwritten note from you, they will know that you took time out of your busy day to write a personal note just for them. How good will you make them feel?! That is the importance of a handwritten thank you note.
I have another personal preference…if I have shared lunch with a long lost friend, receiving a quick email is fun, but when I go to my mailbox and retrieve a note card a few days later, I am even more impressed. Not long ago, I agreed to meet with a college student who was interested in a public speaking career. In our phone conversation she promised that she would only stay 20 minutes because I had explained to her that I was on my way out to catch a flight and my time was a bit tight. On the day of the meeting she showed up 5 minutes early, came in prepared with a list of questions, and took it upon herself to close the meeting before our 20 minutes were up. This young woman had a plan and she meant business. I was impressed.
When I returned from my trip two days later I had a thank you note waiting for me which concisely detailed her appreciation. She thanked me for my time, mentioned several points that I made that she had already begun to implement and requested that we stay in touch through social media. She sent warm wishes to my assistant who facilitated the planning of the meeting and signed off with a warm closing. I couldn’t have done a better job myself!
If you want to make someone’s day and leave a lasting impression, take the time to send a handwritten note. Purchase some beautiful note cards and have them ready when the opportunity presents itself to send an impromptu thank you note. Your small effort will pay off in a big way. From a deeper investment in an existing relationship to a great first impression, you can’t go wrong when you send a handwritten gesture of kindness, courtesy and goodwill.