The Value of a Handwritten Note

According to Gallup News, only 41 percent of American adults look forward to checking their mailbox everyday. Yet, more than 90 percent say they enjoy receiving personal letters and cards. So despite the electronic revolution that has made tweets, texts, messages and emails the norm, the rarity of a handwritten note can be quite effective in building both personal and business relationships.

Cordially, Henry

The late Henry S. Miller, Jr., former chairman and CEO of the Henry S. Miller Companies, was known for sending personal notes, but not only to clients and prospects. He routinely mailed handwritten letters to employees.
Peter Kosley, Executive Vice President in the Retail Division, has a file full of letters from Henry Jr.

“His office was 20 yards away from mine and yet he still sent notes to me through the mail,” says Peter. “Not only did he give thought to writing the note, he also knew that having it arrive in my mailbox at home was better than just tossing it on my desk. Those notes made me feel like I was somebody in Henry’s eyes.”

Today, Peter often sends handwritten notes, too. “When you send a handwritten note, the person receiving it knows that you took time out of your day to put thoughts on paper and that’s appreciated. You can say the exact same thing in an email or text, but it won’t have the same effect.”

Stand Out with a Handwritten Note

Precisely because handwritten notes have become rare in this age of electronic communication, they are more valuable and impactful. The recipient knows that when you’re writing there is no delete or undo button, and spell check is not a software program that you can download on a pen. Writing, therefore, requires more time, thought and care, which makes your note special.

And like your voice and fingerprint, your handwriting is unique. Texts and emails tend to all look the same. But whether your writing would be characterized as script or scrawl, it lends personality to your words and makes what you have to say memorable.

Reasons to Send a Handwritten Note

Another reason why handwritten notes are special is that they usually do not ask someone to do anything. Instead, they are mostly used to express gratitude and appreciation. Notes are also an excellent way to:

  • Follow-up on a meeting or conversation
  • Give someone a pat on the back
  • Let a colleague or business prospect know they’re not forgotten
  • Offer encouragement

How to Write a Note Worth Keeping

If you want to write a letter that your recipient will keep and reread for years to come, then follow these simple tips.

Invest in quality stationery. Physical notes and letters can be wonderfully tactile. The money you spend on premium paper or card stock will pay you back in no time with positive responses. For a more personalized touch, order stationery embossed with your name.

Keep it short and personal. Although you don’t need to write more than a few sentences, you should personalize your message. If you’re writing to say thank you for a gift, then mention how you intend to use what you received. In a follow-up letter, you may want to refer to what the recipient said or did that made an impact on you.

Write a rough draft. Whether on a piece of scratch paper or on the computer, you should always compose a rough draft of your note. Then you’re less likely to make a mistake when writing on stationery.

Write in your own words. You want your note to sound sincere, so write as if you were talking directly to the recipient. This is not the time to use flowery or formal language.

Signed, Sealed and Delivered. Don’t wait to write. The sooner you send your handwritten note, the better. Think of how much more impactful it will be when arriving promptly. If you forget, however, then write and send a note as soon as you remember. When it comes to writing a handwritten note, the motto is always better late than never.

The information contained in this article is general in nature and should not be construed as financial, tax or legal advice.  As with any financial or legal matter, consult your tax advisor and legal counsel.