How many emails did you write yesterday? How many text messages did you send? How many social media messages did you post? When you need to write a message, say thank you, or even send a birthday greeting, what is your go-to method? If it’s been years since you last sent someone a hand written thank you note, you’re not alone. According to the U.S. Postal Service’s annual survey, In 1987, households reported receiving 1.6 pieces of personal correspondence each week. By 2012, personal correspondence received had declined 56 percent, to just 0.7 pieces per household per week. Add to that, data from CNN.comthat indicates that Americans ages 18-29 (Millennials) send and receive, on average, nearly 88 text messages per day.
Despite the trend toward more frequent digital communications, there is still incredible value in handwritten correspondence. It proves a thoughtful purposefulness to which a rash text or Facebook message cannot compare. A handwritten note tells the recipient that you cared enough about your message to purchase stationery, preconceive your message (it’s not as easy to edit your note when you have to rely on whiteout instead of the delete key!), affix a stamp, and put your message in the mailbox.
As we enter 2017 with resolutions to be better, more thoughtful people, make a resolution to write more meaningful correspondence, but writing them with paper and pen. Here are six tips to help you increase the quality and frequency of your handwritten personal correspondence in 2017.
1. Set a measurable goal. Aim to replace one third of the Facebook birthday messages you send with handwritten birthday cards. Start with family members who are most likely to appreciate, and be surprised by, a handwritten card, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
2. To make it easy to send handwritten notes, keep a set of blank stationery in your desk drawer. All you need is a set of blank notecards and your own thoughts the next time you need to say, thank you, I’m sorry, get well soon, thinking of you, or happy anniversary.
3. Write with a fountain pen. These highly sophisticated writing instruments provide the best results when you write slowly and purposefully. Writing a personal note with a fountain pen will force you to really consider what you want to say, rather than simply scrawling a quick, impersonal note.
4. Convert your business correspondence from typed to handwritten. It may feel like the business world runs on email, which is exactly why you will stand out the next time you send a handwritten thank you note. If you have a job interview, informational lunch, or attend a networking meeting in 2017, send a handwritten follow-up note.
5. Consider handwritten invitations. Is it easy to send a group text to invite everyone to your thirtieth birthday party bash? Sure. Is it memorable? No. When you send paper invitations, you make an impression. Don’t underestimate the importance of a tangible party invitation.
6. Sign your holiday cards. Even if you order and print custom holiday cards, you can still add a personal note and add your signature. Don’t be tempted to have your holiday cards bulk mailed by the printer. It’s worth spending a few extra minutes to add your signature to each one.