The Lost Art of Handwritten Notes: The Best Insider Networking Tip That will Help You Stand Out
Networking can be a great way to grow your professional circle and find potential opportunities. However, standing out from the crowd and making meaningful connections isn’t always easy. Lucky for you, I have the absolutes best – and easiest – approach to differentiate yourself in business, get noticed and build meaningful relationships. Are you ready for my challenge? Here goes:
Send a handwritten note to a key contact TODAY. (Shocker, right??)
Trust me, this is networking gold. and as easy as 1, 2, 3. All you’ll have to remember is my simple POWER of THREE strategy to get started – because getting started is the most important part.
The POWER of THREE
1) Carve out 3 minutes per note (tops!)
2) Write 3 lines (literally it’s all you need!)
3) 3 go-to tips to include: show appreciation, make a connection or congratulate
BONUS: I like batch writing to 3 people at a time because as long as you’re in a groove…
JUST DO IT: Your letters do not not need to be perfect poetry – we’re talking progress over perfection.
Follow Up and Reconnect with People.
Now that you see how easy it is to build relationships from the comfort of your office chair, who are we sending the letters to? Following up with people after an event or a meeting is the key to making meaningful connections. After you have met someone, take the time to follow-up with them and send a quick note to thank them for connecting with you. This will help remind them of you, and give you more points of contact that can be used later on when building a professional relationship.
1) EXISTING CLIENTS: Think of your ideal client who might have additional needs now or in the future or have friends who might also be ideal client potential (birds of a feather!)
2) POTENTIAL CLIENTS: You will leave a lasting impression showing that you took the time out of your day to write a handwritten note just to them.
3) REFERRAL SOURCES: Write a thank you note to a business contact who just referred business to you – OR better yet let them know you might have someone to refer to THEM. It’s all about mutually beneficial relationships, my friend.
4) NEW BUSINESS ACQUAINTANCE: Did you just meet someone at a networking event? Jot them a note! Or maybe you read about a person of interest in an industry magazine or website. Forget sending an email – standout with a handwritten note.
5) POTENTIAL EMPLOYER: You better believe if you’re sick of the revolving door of job interviews, sending a handwritten thank you note after your interview is a MUST! Sending a handwritten thank you note as follow-up to a job interview is invaluable. If you’re not already doing this you’re going to want to start ASAP – trust me!
Best Practices for Handwritten Thank You Notes
If we’re following the Emily Post’s true rules for sending a handwritten thank you letter, you have up to 48 hours to get this in the mail.. Even if (way) too much time has passed, you should always, always, always send a thank you card. This truly is one of life’s “better late than never” scenarios. Acknowledge your tardiness… and move on,
The good news is, as I mention in the Power of Three philosophy, there’s no need to write a novel. Be short, to the point, but be sure to be mindful about adding a morsel of personalization. Weave in how their gesture has impacted you or how you intend to enjoy their gift. Again, this thoughtfulness will add to the sincerity of your note. Three to four sentences should cut it, and close by wishing them well and include your anticipation of your paths crossing again soon.
Letter Writing Essentials to Keep in Stock
First, stock up on essentials to increase your odds for getting your handwritten notes in the mail as swiftly as possible. (Remember those best practices?) You’d be surprised by the amount you will shave off your turnaround time just by keeping everything in the same work areas. Here’s what you need:
- Personalized stationery – Give hints to your personality in the colors, font or monogram you choose. Peruse our best selling stationery here.
- A favorite pen – Your quill of choice doesn’t need to be expensive just as long as you like the way it writes and you can control hyper penmanship. I’m a real basic black ballpoint pen kind of girl.
- Postage stamps – Select seasonal or a particular series of stamps that you like from the current offerings at usps.org It seems like postage is increasing every six months, so if you have a favorite stamp I suggest stocking up now. (Current cost of Forever stamps is $0.68 – geez, I remember when it was $0.22!)
- Contain yourself – Having a mini-stationery station is an essential piece of your success! My favorite store for organization stools are: HomeGoods www.homegoods.com (not like I need an excuse to go there!), The Container Store www.containerstore.com or the fabulous The Home Edit Collection at Walmart. Now, let’s say it all together just like my THE ladies, IT’S A SYSTEM!
I’d love if you’d keep in touch with me and let me know how your letter writing campaign is going! I just know that this is going to be a game changer for you. All that matters is that you get started!