10 Reasons Handwritten Notes are AWESOME!
By Ralph Watkins, Mortgage Coach and Coolness Accelerator
Here is a short(ish) post on the mostly lost art of sending out handwritten notes. "Who cares?" you may ask. Well, did you know that George H. W. Bush (the dad), when asked the secret to his amazing career success and longevity, replied that every single day, he sent out 15 handwritten notes? Here is a fantastic article about that written just days after his death.
So, who cares? For starters, you should, and here is why:
1. They validate the importance of a relationship.
Taking time to send a caring note shows you value a relationship and believe it to be worth your time. This may not only nurture a friendship or a marriage, but it’s also a savvy way to grow loyalty with clients and business associates.
2. They are a lasting way to bond with the people you love.
A caring note can be treasured for years. Stop by most history museums and you’ll be taken with the impact a letter can have. Innumerable possessions throughout history have decayed into dust, but fragile pieces of paper have been protected for generations because profound words are worth reading over and over.
3. Science says they can literally make you happier.
Kent State University's Steve Toepfer studies “author benefits” – the perks you get from writing letters. Says Toepher, by making a habit of writing thoughtful letters of gratitude, “you’ll feel happier, you’ll feel more satisfied, and if you’re suffering from depressive symptoms, your symptoms will decrease.” This is legit. Telling your friends how important they are to you helps you count your blessings and notice some of the abundances in your life.
4. They increase your standing.
Writing to people reminds them they’re special; but let’s be real, letters make us look pretty special too. Handwritten letters are a classy friend’s game. Stand out from the crowd by sticking a stamp to your words of encouragement.
5. They help you slow down enough to say things that matter.
Email and texting are largely reactionary. You reach out because you need information. Writing letters is much more deliberate. It is to give, not to receive. You write, not because there is something you need to know, but because there’s something you need to say
6. They create a delightful surprise.
Do you remember when getting mail was fun? You never knew what might be in there. Now, it’s largely junk mail. You can be that person who rescues their friends from the scourge of modern postal delivery! Put something fun in their mailbox and you may just be the highlight of their day.
7. They are well documented.
When you send handwritten letters, you’re a part of one of the most refined rituals. “Letter From a Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King, Jr. captured the spirit of the American Civil Rights Movement. Major Sullivan Ballou’s letter to Sarah revealed the conflicted emotions of a soldier who loved his country and a husband who loved his wife. It’s even said that U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was convinced by a letter from a young girl to grow his now famous beard. Our forefathers recognized the significance of writing letters. we should too.
Some millennials (or even younger people), may find mail outdated or boring; but for mature generations, it’s a tradition steeped in sentiment. Even if your elders know how to text, they still cherish slicing open a handwritten letter.
9. They are an opportunity to showcase your handwriting.
Most of us spent hours in school refining both printing and cursive; but these days, we never get to show off our skills! For you calligraphers out there, handwritten letters are your 15 minutes of fame. Or, if you’re like me, writing letters gives you a chance to improve your chicken scratching.
10. They are simpler than you might think.
Well-crafted cards can be some of the least costly and most appreciated gifts you will ever share. With just a few strokes of the pen, you have the ability to inspire a loved one, encourage a friend, or kindle (or re-kindle) a romance. The first step is the hardest, so let’s make it simple. Whom do you appreciate most in your life? What if you could only speak to them one more time? What would you tell them? Write it down right now. Don’t worry about your handwriting. Later, you’ll just need to find the right card, rewrite your message there, add a stamp, and raise that little flag on your mailbox that spends nearly all of its time lying down.
Bonus Reason: Um...They get opened.
You should send handwritten notes because they are more likely to get opened and read. Remember that 20% “open” email or direct mail stat? Well, compare that to the handwritten note, opened at a 99% rate. That’s right, 99%. BAMM!!