Remember handwritten communication?

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Vegas Baby!

We get emails and texts and messages all day long. Every day. Day after day.

But how often do you get a handwritten note in the mail? Can you even remember the last time you got a handwritten note? Do you remember how it made you feel?

Handwriting personal notes and letters is becoming a lost art, though some people (and some corporate CEOs) recognize the value.

I was raised on pen and paper; if we got a check from Aunt Peg for a birthday, we wrote a thank you note, and if we received a letter from Aunt Ginny, we wrote back.

With the advent of computers, social networking, and iPhones, we have lost the emotional connection of a handwritten note.

As soon as a machine is introduced into the equation, the personal touch is lost. We have machines that make furniture, instead of a wood-worker creating a legacy that lasts centuries. We have machines that die-cut knives, instead of a blacksmith forging a sword. We have a computer that displays words on a screen, instead of a person picking up a pen.

Arnie Fertig, for U. S. News & World Report, suggests a handwritten thank you after a job interview. I’ve done this – I got the job. Coincidence?

Regina Lewis for U. S. A. Today says that handwritten notes in business are refreshingly personal.

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Leaf Partial

Douglas Conant was the CEO for Campbell Soup for ten years and sent 30,000 handwritten notes to employees and clients. When severely injured in a car accident, he received thousands of handwritten best wishes. He and his wife both said that all these notes helped him heal.

Is there a downside to handwritten notes? Yeah…I can appreciate the flip side of this coin.

To handwrite a note, you have to buy the card (or like I do, create my own), find a good pen, find a surface to write on, write, address the envelope, and find a stamp. Oh, the misery of it!

For decades now we’ve had computers at our disposal, most people have one at work, most people have them at home. Computers are always at our fingertips. For a handful of years, most of us have had a tiny computer in a pocket, available on our person. The smart phone. It’s so easy to swipe, type, send.

Janice Kaplan, author of The Gratitude Diaries interviewed dozens of executives and many said they say thank you with a paycheck. Kaplan said “You don’t say thank you with a paycheck. You say I’m paying you with a paycheck. You say thank you with a Thank You.”

There are numerous companies that have machines that duplicate handwriting. You can order handwritten notes, made by a machine. How oxymoronic is that?

Sadly, we are reminded of birthdays and anniversaries via FB. We see important news on Snapchat or Instagram. We can “like” or “love” with a poke.

Handwritten notes have emotion, memories, and personal thought. On the NBC Nightly News, Jane Derenowski said, “The drawings, handwriting, poems, and postmarks took me back to exactly the time, place, and person they were from.” You cannot invoke those feelings and images with an email or a text.Screen Shot 2018-01-27 at 5.26.21 PM

I look at old letters and notes, and and I see that person, where they live, what we shared, the laughter, the pain, the friendship, the love.

I have seen people in offices tack up a note or card from a loved one. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone tack up an email.

The Encyclopedia Britannica claims that handwriting is determined with a great emphasis on personality and that handwriting it almost as individual as fingerprints. Your handwriting represents you as an individual.

I like creating handwritten cards. I feel good writing them, I feel good sending them – knowing that the person on the other end will be pleased when he/she rips open that envelope, flips the card open, reads the handwritten words. I have heard from people that received my cards (some send an email, some a FB message, some even send back a handwritten card!), and the comments are always positive.

Do you have an event coming up, an engagement, a graduation, a new school year? Has someone in another department done you a great favor? Did your spouse or partner cook dinner all this week because you were sick? Or would you simply like to reconnect with someone you care about?

I ask you to write a note, now – to your spouse or partner, to your son or daughter, to your mom or dad, to a respected workmate or someone in another department who recently did you a favor.

And I’d like to know what the response is.

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Have you sent a handwritten note lately? What was the response? Do you think you should re-introduce handwritten notes into your correspondence?

10 Comments

Filed under Personal Articles, Uncategorized

10 responses to “Remember handwritten communication?

  1. What a marvelous case you’ve made for reviving the art of personal note writing! I’m sharing with my Facebook group of the same name today: “Revive the art of personal note writing!” Thank you, Karen, for keeping the embers burning! I have more than one handwritten note from you that make me smile when I re-read them.

    • karenrsanderson

      And I have numerous notes from you that I take out on occasion – they always give me the “umph” I need to keep the faith!

  2. When I was a young child we lived hundreds of miles from my mother’s close-knit family. I always knew when mom got a “letter from home”. She’d stop everything, take off her apron, and sit down to read.

    When I was in college, she would mail me a letter every Monday and start again on next week’s letter. Every Tuesday I got caught up on everything going on at home. Her handwriting was beautiful. I had no idea the letters would end before I graduated. I’m so glad I still have one of them.

    Thanks for the reminder, Karen, to get out my favorite pen and the beautiful cards I bought a while back and do some writing.

    • karenrsanderson

      Getting a letter used to be an event, right? I remember. I have several from my Mom and Aunt Agnes and just looking at their handwriting brings back a flood of memories.

  3. I still remember a handwritten note AND POEM that my aunt sent me when I was 12 and feeling awkward and ugly. She encouraged me in her own words, had faith in me, and insisted I would grow up to be a beautiful talented woman. I’m not sure I believed her, but I held on to that note for years, gaining confidence from her encouragement. I now send handwritten notes to my own adult children, and to my grands. Who knows, at some point in their life, maybe it will make a difference to them too. Lovely post, Karen.

    • karenrsanderson

      Handwritten notes have the power to change lives, for sure. I too send occasional notes to my grown son and his wife and to my grands. Thank you, Pamela.

  4. Thank you, Karen, for this poignant reminder to put pen to paper, literally.

    • karenrsanderson

      Sometimes we need a nudge. And I think it’s especially important now with all the social networking we’re inundated with.

  5. I still send and receive handwritten notes and they are so special. Getting something in the mail makes my heart sing. I love hearing from all my friends and family and without social media, there are those I wouldn’t hear from so I am happy we have both ways of communicating. As an Employment Counsellor, I advised sending a handwritten thank you note after a job interview. It often made a difference!

    • karenrsanderson

      I think the note after an interview makes a difference – I think I got one job because of it! Thank you for adding your comment.

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