The power of a handwritten note

handwritten thank-you noteToday, when you receive a thank-you note from your boss, it’s probably in the form of a text message or email.

And while the acknowledgment of a job well done is important, regardless of whether it’s electronic or handwritten, it’s critical that the communication speaks to the recipient as an individual.

In the business world, sending messages of recognition, congratulations, or appreciation, or directing a request or an appeal through Twitter, texting, Facebook or email, is certainly faster and easier than a handwritten note.

But what is often missing in those communications is authenticity and forethought.

When you put pen to paper, you are forced to think about what you are writing because you can’t simply hit the delete key.

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The fact that it takes longer to write out a personal note also speaks volumes to the recipients—you took valuable time from your busy day to write a note just for them.

Not just a personal note, but a personal, handwritten note.

It’s the difference between receiving a gift of a scarf, for example, from a local department store and one that someone created especially for you. Both are thoughtful, but the handcrafted gift means more.

A truly personal note to a client, employee, supervisor or colleague has many benefits:

• Your note will help you stand out, be noticed and be remembered in a way that the more fleeting messages can’t accomplish.

• A personal note often conveys a deeper sense of appreciation, remembrance and gratitude because it most likely took longer to prepare.

• Handwritten notes especially come across as more thoughtful because you, most likely, had to carefully consider what to say before writing it down.

• A tweet, text or email can get quickly buried under a mountain of newer tweets, texts and emails. A personal or handwritten message will stand out and be remembered for a long time, even if it gets filed away.

• Personal notes from business leaders often help strengthen employee morale, heighten productivity, facilitate interpersonal communication and help retain team members who will feel more appreciated, leading to reduced recruiting and training costs.

The next time you want to congratulate someone for a job well done, inspire a newly hired worker or show appreciation to a client, make it personal and—better yet—write it by hand.

You will be pleasantly surprised by the effect.

Ritch K. Eich, Ph.D., M.A., B.A., is author of the book Trust, Truth + Tenacity: How Ordinary People Become Extraordinary Leaders.