I revisited the idea of handwritten thank-you notes this weekend, first in a training session for Toastmaster officers and later in a series of web posts and newspaper articles.
At Fast Company I saw the interesting perspective of Erin Newkirk of Red Stamp, an online greeting card company. In a wide-ranging article, she offers this interesting advice:
Don't be overwhelmed by blank space. Every note you write can be broken down into three easy-to-pen parts:
- Revisit what prompted the note. This gets to the meat of your message. For example: I was very appreciative of your expertise/time/etc.
- Relive an important/highlighted part of the exchange such as: Specifically, because of your expertise/time/etc., we were able to do this or that.
- Reveal what comes next. Wrap up your note with how you will get in touch or your plans for moving forward. For instance: Next time, coffee is on me, or, I'll follow up with your promised deliverable.
That post called to mind an article about wedding invitations from The New York Times. In it Marie Foley has this to say about the invitations she chose:
Despite the fact that we are living in such a digital age, we still wanted to hold tight to having a formal, paper invitation sent out in the mail. As a bride, there’s something very exciting to me about packing my invitations for mailing. It’s much classier than just sending out an electronic invite, which is not my style.
Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way, offers some perspective on her blog today, too.
In the advent of more and more technology, Morning Pages remain the same: they need always be done by hand. Hand-writing puts us in touch with our emotions. We learn how we feel about what we say. Writing by computer is a more shallow practice. It yields us speed and distance, but not the depth that we are looking for. Velocity is more often our enemy than our friend.