Dear Miss Cards Etiquette,
When is it appropriate to send out a handwritten note? Does anyone actually send out handwritten notes, or has e-mail replaced them? How long should they be?
If you’ve ever received a handwritten note from a business associate, you understand exactly why it’s a good idea to send them to your valued clients and associates: Hand written notes, in today’s text-message-and-email world, have tremendous impact. A handwritten note says you value the recipient enough to take a break from your computer and focus your attention wholly on them. (Anyone who has ever composed an email with a web page open in the background, a Word document off to one side, and an IM window open all at the same time will know what I mean about focusing your attention!)
In general, any occasion you might send a card to a friend or family member is a perfect opportunity to send a handwritten note to a business contact. My favorite rule of thumb for correspondence is simple: If your places were reversed, would you appreciate receiving a note from your recipient? If it would make you uncomfortable or seem too familiar, you might want to wait for another opportunity. If you’d appreciate a thank you or congratulations in their position, then go ahead and send one!
Hand writing a note doesn’t have to be a daunting task. A simple note of 4 or fewer sentences is plenty. Something like, “Edward, I just heard about your promotion. I wanted to send a quick note to say congratulations! They couldn’t have promoted a more deserving person. Yours, Bob” is fine. And the more notes you write, the more natural it will seem.
Email is no substitute for a proper, personal note. Even if you’ve already said thank you or sent your congratulations electronically, following up with a “hard copy” message will leave a good impression. Keeping a box or two of CardsDirect’s Petite Greeting Card Assortment Pack makes writing easier, because you always have the perfect card for any occasion. Another option would be to order custom logo cards with your company logo on the front, and keep them at the ready whenever opportunity arises for a quick correspondence.