The handwritten thank you letter – a relic of the pre-Internet age – is making a surprise comeback.
It was long banished from the business world as outdated or quaint. Now the handwritten employee thank you is gaining traction because it cuts through the digital noise!
“We all love being thanked. But if you want to make a real impression, I believe that a physical missive wins hands down over a text or an email, in business circles,” writes Josaphine Fairley in her Telegraph essay on the renewed relevance of the handwritten Thank You letter.
Fairley is just one of many business leaders who are speaking up about their love of the handwritten thank you letter.
a Handwritten employee Thank you Note shows you care
How many unread emails are in your inbox? Do you fantasize about achieving “inbox zero” and feel like you’re playing Whac-A-Mole to get there?
Today, we have more ways than ever communicate. We can email, text, speak-text, chat, message, ping, tweet, pin, chat, video conference … and that’s just a start. The list is ever-growing with the addition of new apps and technology.
The ease of digital communication makes our lives smoother and our business transactions faster, more powerful and more convenient.
But digital communication is not always ideal for conveying gratitude or other heartfelt feelings. Emails get lost in the shuffle and feel too routine for a special “thank you.”
Personal touch matters more than ever in the digital age, according to Fairley.
[Tweet “The more crowded our inboxes, ever-greater the impact of the letter or card.”]
Fairley’s devotion to the handwritten thank you letter was first inspired by Estee Lauder, co-founder of the beauty company by the same name and one of the most influential business leaders of the 20th Century. No matter how small the reason or how busy she was, Lauder would send a note of gratitude.
“I soon realized the power of the business thank you — and vowed to do the same,” Fairley writes. “I now ritually spend every Sunday afternoon in my shed with a stack of notecards, a nice pen and proper stamps.”
“Yes, I invariably have a gazillion other things to do, but making time for that ‘thank you’ ritual on a Sunday is non-negotiable. I think it’s hugely important for cementing business relationships,” she writes.
4 Reasons Handwritten Thank You Notes Stand Out
Personal handwritten notes are a rare commodity, says John Coleman, author of “Passion and Purpose: Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leaders.”
In a Harvard Business Review article, Coleman cites a 2010 U.S. Postal Service annual survey that found the average home receives a personal letter once every seven weeks.
He makes a case that the handwritten thank you letter should be a regular part of your business communication with employees and associates for the following four reasons:
1. Economic value
Handwritten letters cost more time and money. That means something, Coleman writes: “Drafting one involves selecting stationery, paying for stamps and visiting a mailbox. They indicate investment, and that very costliness indicates value.”
2. Emotional value
Digital communication tends to be utilitarian. Writing a tangible thank you note is an act of investment, remembrance, gratitude and appreciation. It shows the people who matter to your life and your business that they matter to you.
3. Universal benefits
Ever notice how good you feel after showing kindness to someone? Expressing gratitude directly correlates with better health and sleep, less anxiety and more life satisfaction. Taking the time to say “Thank You” with a letter magnifies these benefits.
The permanence of the handwritten thank you letter makes it special. Sure, email is permanent, but how many emails do you print off and display? The recipient feels proud, and can show it. Letters get saved as keepsakes, or put on the fridge.
Just as in our personal lives, business thrives on making and strengthening connections, and letters are a powerful way to go about it. How will you start a thank you letter-writing routine in your life?
For more great tips and insights into building a vibrant culture of engagement, loyalty and appreciation, be sure to download our free e-book, “The Top 20 Employee Engagement Blogs You Should be Reading”.
About gThankYou, LLC
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