Handwritten notes add a personal touch to meetings

Handwritten notes might be seen as an old-fashioned way to communicate - or at least a less obvious way to communicate if you are a communications professional. But people in PR say that's not always the case. Everybody gets numerous e-mails a day, but how many handwritten notes do they receive, apart from relatives?

Handwritten notes might be seen as an old-fashioned way to communicate – or at least a less obvious way to communicate if you are a communications professional. But people in PR say that's not always the case. Everybody gets numerous e-mails a day, but how many handwritten notes do they receive, apart from relatives?

“Typically, people just get direct mail or bills or subscription notices, so if I actually get a handwritten note from someone, it means a lot,” says Virilion publicist Mimi Carter. “More than likely, when I send handwritten notes, it's thanking someone for a meeting. So when we do a speaking engagement, I try to send the organizer a note.”

Clearly, such correspondence stands out, if only because it shows that a person took the extra time and energy to find a piece of paper and envelope, write the note, put on a stamp, and take it to the mail slot, Carter notes. Other typical instances for writing notes include following business pitches, she says.

Pete Snyder, founder of New Media Strategies, adds that besides being a good way for communication pros to thank the media or potential or existing clients, handwritten letters are also a great way to stand out in the PR industry job search. An e-mail following a job interview can potentially be a fine way to say thanks for being considered, but too often, such electronic correspondence seems to be more of just a formality.

“It does show that they are making the effort,” Snyder says. “I've gotten Blackberry messages five minutes after the end of interviews that were full of misspellings. Even if they [are in bad taste] – like one time an applicant sent the office 15 pizzas – it makes an impression. I respect a good game.”

Key points:

Handwritten notes help agencies, individuals break through the e-mail clutter

Notes might seem an obvious tactic, but are more rare than one might expect

Notes also remain a good tactic for job applicants

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