“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” – United States Postal Service
Those of us who remember this motto of the US Postal Service, the days of snail mail and 14¢ postage stamps, will also recall the thrill of receiving a personal letter or card long before digital communications fundamentally changed the way we communicate.
THEN: It was common practice to acknowledge business interactions with follow-up phone calls, thank you cards and handwritten letters long after the sale or transaction had occurred. With the advent of the internet and subsequent reliance on digital communications, there has been a significant decline in such practices.
NOW: Today's business climate is fast-paced and saddled with deadlines. There aren't enough hours in a day to complete all the well-intended tasks we set out to do. Communication through digital correspondence is convenient, but often lacks the emotional connection that can be readily achieved with written correspondence.
You can be sure that your email, no matter its content, will resemble the hundreds of other emails your business associates receive each week. It serves the purpose of relaying information, finalizing tasks and continuing the rushed flow of business. But when you really want to stand out, I highly recommend tapping into the nearly-extinct process of taking pen to paper.
GOING THE EXTRA MILE: The appropriate use of rare, handwritten correspondence can solidify your position as someone to do business with. You are taking the time to show appreciation, which does not go unnoticed. It can also provide a sense of pride for the sender, as acknowledging in writing the work or kindness of others is an opportunity to share something more personal about yourself – differentiating you from your counterparts in business. Emails don't typically make their recipients feel special, but opening a handwritten note certainly can.
Yes, this practice can be time-consuming. Yes, it has added costs. And yes, it may never be acknowledged. But if you think of the experience of writing personal notes as an opportunity rather than an obligation, your carefully chosen words of thanks and gratitude will have a positive impact for the recipient and quite possibly serve to benefit you as well.
Joe’s favorite motto is work hard–play hard. He’s an avid golfer and always ready for an extra 9 holes. He and his wife enjoy the magnificence and serenity of the ocean as well as spending time in quaint, little towns while on their weekend get-a-ways.