Compliments of arnoKath via Flickr

In a world where messages are transmitted with the touch of a keystroke, we tend to either discount (or in some cases dehumanize) the person at the other end. In our hurry to communicate we have forgotten the power of a personal touch.

Whenever possible, I try to send a handwritten card; it not only conveys a sense of personal warmth, but it touches people on a level at which e-mail fails miserably. Sending a card (through the mail, not an e-card) implies that you took the time to

  1. Make a purchase
  2. Organize your thoughts into meaningful paragraphs, and
  3. Deposit them in the mail. Several steps and a degree of effort are necessary in this process.

If you want to make a maximum impact, enfold your message in a wrapper that’s reflective of your persona. I love cards that contain poetry from Helen Steiner Rice for the thoughtfulness they convey.

In the future, try the following experiment. Instead of sending a “thank you” text following an interview, try mailing a hand written note – better yet, if you are in the vicinity deliver it personally (a potentially huge payoff for a tiny initial investment). Competitive advantage occurs in your personal conduct along with your technical skill. How often do we complain when things are not to our liking, but remain silent when they go as expected? Sending someone a letter (with a copy to their boss) will generate an enormous amount of goodwill (and, reflect positively on you!).

Receiving an envelope in the mailbox is a nice surprise. If the sender made the added effort of writing in lovely, legible cursive, their gift will be something remembered (and perhaps even treasured). Think of the legacy you’re creating in the mind’s eye of someone else, and choose to make that person’s day. Breathnach suggests that beautiful cards (sent just to say you’re thinking of friends) are a form of active compassion.

Everything you do is your signature – make it one people will remember instead of delete.

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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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