The Power of Handwritten Thank You Notes

A woman removes a letter from an envelope, and the letter says, "Thanks."

When was the last time you hand wrote a letter or thank you notes?

(Yes, you read that correctly. Not the last time you sent a text, shot someone an email, or made a phone call — but wrote an actual handwritten letter.)

Don’t be ashamed. Handwritten notes are often overlooked in today’s digital world, yet their value within the business world is greater than ever.

Here are three reasons why you should put down the phone, and pick up a pen and stationery:

Relationships are everything.

Relationships are vital no matter what profession you’re in. Writing a handwritten, genuine thank you note is a great relationship builder, plus it helps people remember you. For example, I receive more than 100 emails a day, and that’s only a sliver compared to my colleagues. It’s easy for an email to get lost in translation, which is why a “thank you” email doesn’t always suffice. To stand out from the crowd, be one of the few individuals to take the time to write a handwritten letter.

You’re a real person, not a robot.

We’ve all seen those generic, non-genuine, automatic responses that sound like they came from a robot … Don’t be that person. There are plenty of softwares and programs that will create canned responses for you and allow you to reach out or respond to multiple people at once, but let’s be honest, does anyone actually enjoy receiving those automatic-like responses?

You’re not a robot so don’t hide behind your electronics. Be an actual person, show your personality, and prove how much you truly care about the individual you’re writing to. They’ll appreciate it.

Everyone deserves a thank you.

At the end of the day, we’re all adults and we get by with help from others. No matter where you are in your professional career, there is someone that has helped you along the way.  Whether it was assisting with a recent project, helping you reach a milestone, or providing advice on one of life’s many challenges, someone has made an impact. Don’t ever lose sight of the people who have helped you get to where you are today, no matter how large or how small their contribution may have been.

(Insert cheesy violin music here)

It’s easy.

As a public relations professional, I write at least three thank you notes a week. This may take 30 minutes out of my work week (which isn’t really that much), but the feedback I’ve received and the relationships I’ve built far outweigh the pain of an occasional hand cramp. If our ancestors could tell their stories on a cave wall, you can write a few thank you notes a week.

All you need is a box of stationery and some stamps (remember those?). Oh, and a pen. You probably have one shoved in a drawer or in the bottom of your computer bag. Once you have your supplies, take the time to write a personal note. The impression you make, the relationships you create, and the smile you bring to someone’s face will be well worth the .49 cents per stamp.

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