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Thank You Notes vs. Email

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Craig Witt of Exit Realty

I can remember receiving my first hand-written thank you note from our U.S. president of Exit Realty, Tami Bonnell, back in 2005 after opening our second office. I was shocked that an executive with the company I had been with less than a year would take the time to not only send me a card in the mail, but to handwrite the card! It sent a strong message to me with the personal feeling I felt when I received it. I now keep every hand written card I receive in shoe boxes in my office and often go through them to remember who they were from and what the meaning was behind the card.

It’s really hard to tell the emotion in an email and it usually is left up to your interpretation with the way the sender wanted you to read the message and in what tone. It seems like even under the best of circumstances, some of what’s intended to be communicated gets lost in the typing – unless, of course, you are one of those people who drops exclamation points at the end of every sentence to get the full effect across!

I have made it my mission to send handwritten thank you notes and notes of encouragement as often as I can. It has a sense of expressionism and gratefulness when you put pen to paper and get your thoughts down in ink. I think it shows you care enough to actually write a message, address the envelope and put a stamp on it, so that when they get it in the mail, it is a mutual feeling of respect and appreciation. I always include my business card so they can see my face as if I am looking at them and saying, “thank you”.

So, with email communication, when is it appropriate and can it be personal enough to get your point across or say “thank you”? I think it is important to thank people no matter how you choose to do it. I often drop a quick email when I am traveling so I don’t forget to get a quick response back for a good deed or something I am thankful for. I also think a nice email letter or message is appropriate depending on the recipient. Only you can determine the circumstance and what the best way to express yourself is. Sometimes less is more though, less punctuation and more words of feeling and emotion seem to go further, at least they do with me.

Whether it is email, thank you notes, or a simple phone call, communication is so important in business and personal life. A note of encouragement can arrive just at the right time when all seems to be falling apart, and it can change your attitude and maybe even your life when you see someone cared enough to reach out. Take some time each week to call an old friend, write a short note, or even email someone important to you and let them know you are thinking about them. If we live by the giving principal, the world will be a better place, guaranteed.

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