Let’s say that you’ve just met someone new, or you attended a meeting with people you like and respect. Want to make a stronger connection?
Here’s how: send a handwritten note.
It doesn’t take long to write a few lines and address an envelope. The people you send notes to are likely to say how great it is to get a personal note in the mail. Even if they don’t mention it, they’ll remember in a good way.
Here’s how to make it easy:
Cards & stamps. Always have cards handy. If you’re traveling, take stamps. Bring cards along, or purchase some that relate to the theme or location of the meeting. For example, if your meeting is in New Orleans, you might buy cards with pictures from the French Quarter.Make sure that the cards fit with the look and feel of your business and/or of the event you attended with the recipients.
- List of connections. For every meeting (event, conference), keep a running list of people you’d like to connect with afterwards.
- Write soon after the event. Write notes to the people on your list. Say that you were glad to meet them or express interest or thanks for contributions at the meeting. If you’re traveling, you can write notes at the airport or on the flight home.
- Keep addresses handy. If you regularly meet with people on a board or committee, make sure their addresses are in your contact system. Use business cards for addresses when you’ve just met someone for the first time.
Little touches. Consider using attractive stamps, just because they’ll look great on the envelope (and because people will notice that you took some care). You’ll want to think about your choices. For example, you should probably avoid Valentine or wedding motifs for business colleagues.
Handwritten or typed? If your handwriting is legible, writing by hand will give a more lasting, personalized impression. If no one could possibly read your writing, then at least sign the card. I once received a holiday card from a business colleague that was preprinted in every way. Not even a scribble of a signature. This did not seem remotely personal, and it was hard to find any feeling in it.
What to say? Just make it simple and from the heart. Here’s a basic outline, which you can expand on, to make your note personal and customized:
“It was great to meet you [at what event] in [city].
“Thank you for the great ideas at the [name of committee] meeting [when].
“I’m looking forward to [hearing from you/seeing you at the next meeting]. In the meantime, if you’d like to keep in touch, please email me at [yourname@wherever] or call [555-123-1234].”
There’s something about getting a handwritten card or letter in the mail. When I was President of ISPI, our board met four times a year. I’d write notes while flying home and mail them the next morning. Now when I travel, I often send notes to people I met with while away.
I’ve received many messages thanking me for the extra care expressed via a handwritten card. If you send your own tangible thanks or notes of appreciation, you’ll make a positive connection and a friendly, lasting impression.
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