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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Simple Gestures That Communicate Strongly

Envelope originally uploaded by KellyLWatson.
Envelope by Kelly L WatsonAs much as I love the web, technology and the tools of social media, I remain low-tech on many fronts. On clipboards I jot down preliminary blogpost concepts and keep track of projects. I delight in writing by hand on paper and then highlighting in various colors To Dos in my Filofax organizer; and I thoroughly appreciate hand-written notes which, to me, represent simple gestures that communicate strongly.

I can't remember not loving receiving and sending notes, not being in awe of the journeys that the envelopes took, and not being impressed with the precious bits of individuality and personality that the envelopes transported to their ultimate destinations.

[That's why the Round The World Envelope Race captured my imagination!]

While spending time yesterday with Jeanne Byington [her blog The Importance of Earnest Service is a thoughtful, intelligent must-read resource], we got onto the subject of letters and hand-written notes in the age of email.

In business, email has replaced written communications. It's faster, more convenient, more flexible and also more ubiquitous. It's also intense! After an afternoon in New York City, I came back to an additional 30 emails in one account and 40 in the other.

Here's another interesting observation: my mail volume has diminished dramatically! Gone are the useless duplicate catalogs and the mounds of 'junk' mail. Is it the same for you?

As a result, what's left attracts more attention, as did the handwritten thank you note from my cousin's daughter which communicated a strong message of personality and effort. Whereas the competition has increased for email based communications, it has radically decreased for old-fashioned mail. Real mail stands out. It's memorable. It generates conversation.

So imagine making use of a simple gesture in business - like sending a customer a handwritten thank you note - to communicate in no uncertain terms how you feel. What do you think the reaction might be? Especially when there aren't mounds of other stuff to mask or dilute the effect?

Are there other simple gestures that you've had success using to communicate strongly?


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