Arriving in your mailbox today is a stack of bills, a handful of newsprint style advertisements, the latest edition of People magazine and a thank you note. A hand addressed, rectangular shaped little treasure, full of hope and love and wonderful words about you. Don't you get excited to open it?
The handwritten thank you note -- when I get one, I like to prop that little fella on my desk, discard the fliers in the recycle bin, put aside the rest of the mail and take just a moment to examine the whimsical and comfortable letters spelling my name on the envelope. I soak in the artwork on the stamp. I'll even take a moment to look at the placement of the stamp in the upper right hand corner of the envelope. I'm not being critical, I'm just savoring the moment. Someone put enough effort into sending me this gem, I want to give it the respect it deserves.
The connection made by a handwritten note lasts much longer than an email, text message, Facebook post or any other type of communication between sender and receiver. When you receive a handwritten note in the mail, the sender is saying to you:
- I care about you.
- I respect you.
- I thank you.
And all of those things are said before you even open the envelope. Once read, the note is not deleted like an email or lost in a sea of other words like a text message. It gets to hang out on your desk (prime real estate) for a day or two, maybe even tacked onto your bulletin board. You will reread it a time or two. You will probably take a second look at the way the envelope is addressed. You might even smell it. But rarely would you trash it as quickly as you would an email. When was the last time you printed out a thank you email? Uh, how about never.
There are usually a couple of excuses people have for not sending out handwritten thank you notes. One excuse is that people don’t have the supplies on hand. A single trip is all you need to get fun stationery, stamps and a good pen. But, the biggest excuse is that people don’t have enough time. If it’s a business thank you note you are sending, I challenge you to find a better return on investment than a 49 cent stamp and a two dollar note card and envelope. If it’s a personal thank you note, the ROI is priceless, a friendship that continues for a lifetime.
Put the human element back into your relationships with other humans. A great start is with a handwritten thank you note. Caution: You will be required to step away from your computer, open a box of stationery, pick up a pen and practice the art of writing. You will be rewarded by the good feeling you get when you do something nice. You are delivering happiness. Deliver it wisely.