[tweetmeme]I received evidence today that letter writing isn’t dead. I just finished tossing my junk mail, as I do every day. But in between all the magazines and discount flyers for Broadway shows, I was delighted to spy a letter from a new bridge partner containing several instruction sheets with conventions we’re working on. Now, Susanne didn’t have to send these to me. It was a favor and she could have given them to me when we play next week.
But her envelope stood out in my pile of mail. This got me thinking once again about how important writing a letter, preferably by hand, still is to us. We cringe under the deluge of email correspondence, deleting most of it without reading. Even a juicy subject line may not be enough to grab our attention.
But a letter?
We can touch the envelope containing the letter and shake it to try and guess at its contents. Sort of useless but we do it. We know that someone else actually held this envelope in his hand and wrote the letter inside. Would you believe that the old-fashioned letter actually has a sense of mystery about it? What will be revealed when I read it? (Envelopes we receive screaming “Save Money Now,” or “0%” Interest” printed on the envelope don’t count — more junk mail).
I’m talking about what is obviously a personal letter — even though the letter may turn out to have a business purpose. So don’t be afraid to seem out of date when you send a client or prospect a personal note. You will amaze and delight her because it obviously took some time to get the paper and envelope, sit down to compose the letter, address, stamp and mail it. How thoughtful of you to send me an article on a subject I’m deeply interested in, or to invite me for cocktails or a seminar.
Thank you note
Don’t forget the thank you note, while we’re at it, which my good friend Andrea Nierenberg wrote about in these pages a few months ago.
I’ll end with a funny question my grandson asked me recently, “When you were young, did you use a quill pen?” Yikes, I’m not that old. But, yes, I did use a pen to write letters when I was younger, before taking the lazy way out too often now and thumbing a note to someone on my new smart phone. Whew, glad that’s off my plate.