Hand-written, personal communication of any kind is a thing of the past; taken over by the quick text or short email hurriedly tapped out with little thought, only to get lost in the multitude of other texts and emails cluttering our Inboxes. They are glanced at and deleted.
I come from a family of letter writers, card and note senders. I use snail mail for birthday cards and Christmas cards, thank you notes – all with a handwritten note. I was taught to always send a thank you note for formal gifts (weddings, graduations, showers etc.) or to thank someone for their time or anything that may have been done that was out of their way. When someone acts surprised by receiving one, it makes me realize how unfortunate it is that note and letter writing has become a lost art.
Case in point, I am the editor of the company magazine at my organization. It is supposed to be a magazine for and by the associates, meaning professional writers are not doing the articles. It’s a lot of work, but the most difficult part is getting associates to write an article. I do get it; not everyone enjoys writing. So, when someone is persuaded to do so, I always include a hand-written note attached to a pre-mail copy of the issue with their article. I thank them for their time and say something I learned or enjoyed about the article and sign it. My hope is they realize their effort was very much appreciated. It takes me all of 2 or 3 minutes to do.
Yesterday, I received a voicemail from an associate in our Technical Service group; a techie guy. The team I work with on the magazine was after him for several months to write an article on an app they had put together that had done extremely well. I would have known nothing about it had it not been for his article. I sent him a note saying so and thanked him for doing it. His message was thanking me for my note. He really appreciated that note and thought “it was really nice touch.” My hope was realized. He got that I valued his time. Isn’t that what everyone wants?
No one has time any more, or should I say, no one takes the time any more, to take the effort to actually write a note. Such a seemingly small thing can mean a great deal to the one receiving it. We live in a time where everything is disposable; we rush through our hectic days without taking a moment to think about others. I don’t expect to hear back from those I send a thank you note to, but when I do, I am thankful I took those 2 or 3 minutes to put word to paper.