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What to Remember When Sending Business Christmas Cards

What to Remember When Sending Business Christmas Cards

As Christmas approaches, many companies begin to prepare their Christmas cards for clients, customers, employees, and other business associates. While it may seem like a simple thing, there are a lot of considerations regarding what is and isn’t appropriate, as well as the method of delivery.

You need to select an appropriate design and message that properly reflects the sentiment you are trying to express. If it is too salesy, it may be quickly discarded as just another ad while impersonal cards may not have the affect you desire.

Since the selection of an appropriate holiday greeting can be challenging, and business communications require a different type of etiquette than those you would send personally, we have gathered some tips to help you. Here are seven things you should keep in mind when sending business Christmas (or holiday) cards this season.

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1. Avoid Family Photos.

Business communications and family photos should not mix. Stick with a more professional design even if you have a family-owned and -operated business. This is an area where including a photo of your family may feel too intimate, especially for business associates that you rarely meet (or have never met) in person.

2. Don’t Forget the Return Address.

The return address allows the recipient to easily identify who sent the card before they even open it. Without a return address it may be difficult to determine who sent the card, especially if it is not clearly noted on the card itself. Since part of the purpose of sending holiday cards is to build a rapport with your business associates, ensuring they know who the sender is is a little step that can go a long way.

3. Limit Sales Talk.

Unless you intend your Christmas cards to actually be marketing materials, it is better to limit the sales talk. Otherwise, your token of appreciation can easily look like any other solicitation.

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Holiday cards are meant to solidify business relationships and express appreciation. This isn’t necessarily an appropriate time to specifically aim at generating sales. However, a note indicating that you look forward to continuing the business relationship into the New Year, or to serving your customer’s or client’s needs, is an acceptable way to express the idea without being overt.

4. Use Regular Mail over Digital.

An actual card sent through the mail is always preferable over digital, or Ecard, versions. When possible, choose this route over any other. If you have a large number of cards to send or have budgetary constraints, then consider the nature of your relationship with your business associates. You may find that those with which you have a strong relationship are worth the extra effort and cost.

Ecards are more likely to be deleted by accident, or even simply ignored. While the use of Ecards may be the most cost-effective method, it doesn’t deliver the same impression as an actual card.

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5. Add a Personal Touch.

Pre-printed cards are more economical when sending them en masse. However, make sure to include a personal touch when sending the card. At a minimum, take the time to sign each card by hand. It is also wise to add a small note thanking your business associate for something specific that occurred during the past year. This helps cement the relationship as you have expressed appreciation in a meaningful way.

6. Avoid Points of Controversy.

Your business should choose cards that eliminate the chance of offending the recipient. Often, this involves choosing a secular design over one that speaks to a specific religion, such as a “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays” card over one that specifically says “Merry Christmas.”

Additionally, be careful with humor or messages that may seem too intimate. Humor can be misinterpreted, or even seem offensive to some, and a message that falls into the realm of too personal may make the recipient uncomfortable.

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7. Send Them Now.

All holiday cards should be received before the New Year whenever possible. Since mailing times can shift during busy postal periods, it is better to get these out as quickly after Thanksgiving as possible. That gives them plenty of time to reach the recipient and increases the likelihood they will be opened before the holiday season is over.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

Traditionally, when you have a lot of ideas in your mind, you would create a text document, or take a sheet of paper and start writing in a linear fashion like this:

  • Intro to Visual Facilitation
    • Problem, Consequences, Solution, Benefits, Examples, Call to action
  • Structure
    • Why, What, How to, What If
  • Do It Myself?
    • Audio, Images, time-consuming, less expensive
  • Specialize Offering?
    • Built to Sell (Standard Product Offering), Options (Solving problems, Online calls, Dev projects)

This type of document quickly becomes overwhelming. It obviously lacks in clarity. It also makes it hard for you to get a full picture at a glance and see what is missing.

You always have too much information to look at, and most often you only get a partial view of the information. It’s hard to zoom out, figuratively, and to see the whole hierarchy and how everything is connected.

To see a fuller picture, create a mind map.

What Is a Mind Map?

A mind map is a simple hierarchical radial diagram. In other words, you organize your thoughts around a central idea. This technique is especially useful whenever you need to “dump your brain”, or develop an idea, a project (for example, a new product or service), a problem, a solution, etc. By capturing what you have in your head, you make space for other thoughts.

In this article, we are focusing on the basics: mind mapping using pen and paper.

The objective of a mind map is to clearly visualize all your thoughts and ideas before your eyes. Don’t complicate a mind map with too many colors or distractions. Use different colors only when they serve a purpose. Always keep a mind map simple and easy to follow.

    Image Credit: English Central

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    By following the three next steps below, you will be able to create such mind maps easily and quickly.

    3 Simple Steps to Create a Mind Map

    The three steps are:

    1. Set a central topic
    2. Add branches of related ideas
    3. Add sub-branches for more relevant ideas

    Let’s take a look at an example Verbal To Visual illustrates on the benefits of mind mapping.[1]

    Step 1 : Set a Central Topic

    Take a blank sheet of paper, write down the topic you’ve been thinking about: a problem, a decision to make, an idea to develop, or a project to clarify.

    Word it in a clear and concise manner.

      What is the first idea that comes to mind when you think of the subject for your mind map? Draw a line (straight or curved) from the central topic, and write down that idea.

        Step 3 : Add Sub-Branches for More Relevant Ideas

        Then, what does that idea make you think of? What is related to it? List it out next to it in the same way, using your pen.

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          You can always add more to it later, but that’s good for now.

          In our example, we could detail the sub-branch “Benefits” by listing those benefits in sub-branches of the branch “Benefits”. Unfortunately, we already reached the side of the sheet, so we’re out of space to do so. You could always draw a line to a white space on the page and list them there, but it’s awkward.

          Since we created this mind map on a regular letter-format sheet of paper, the quantity of information that fits in there is very limited. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend that you use software rather than pen and paper for most of the mind mapping that you do.

          Repeat Step 2 and Step 3

          Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need to flush out all of your ideas around the topic that you chose.

            I added first-level (main) branches around the central topic mostly in a clockwise fashion, from top-right to top-left. That is how, by convention, a mind map is read.

            In the next section, we are covering the three strategies to building your maps.  

            Mind Map Examples to Illustrate Mind Mapping

            You can go about creating a mind map in various ways:

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            • Branch by Branch: Adding whole branches (with all of their sub-branches), one by one.
            • Level by Level: Adding elements to the map, one level at a time. That means that firstly, you add elements around the central topic (main branches). Then, you add sub-branches to those main branches. And so on.
            • Free-Flow: Adding elements to your mind map as they come to you, in no particular order.

            Branch by Branch

            Start with the central topic, add a first branch. Focus on that branch and detail it as much as you can by adding all the sub-branches that you can think of.

              Then develop ideas branch by branch.

                A branch after another, and the mind map is complete.

                  Level by Level

                  In this “Level by Level” strategy, you first add all the elements that you can think of around the central topic, one level deep only. So here you add elements on level 1:

                    Then, go over each branch and add the immediate sub-branches (one level only). This is level 2:

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                      Idem for the next level. This is level 3. You can have as many levels as you want in a mind map. In our example, we only have 3 levels. Now the map is complete:

                        Free-Flow

                        Basically, a free flow strategy of mind mapping is to add main branches and sub-topics freely. No rules to restrict how ideas should flow in the mind map. The only thing to pay attention to is that you need to be careful about the level of the ideas you’re adding to the mind map — is it a main topic, or is it a subtopic?

                          I recommend using a combination of the “Branch by Branch” and the “Free-Flow” strategies.

                          What I normally do is I add one branch at a time, and later on review the mind map and add elements in various places to finish it. I also sometimes build level 1 (the main branches) first, then use a “Branch by Branch” approach, and later finish the map in a “Free-Flow” manner.

                          Try each strategy and combinations of strategies, and see what works best for you.

                          The Bottom Line

                          When you’re feeling stuck or when you’re just starting to think about a particular idea or project, take out a paper and start to brain dump your ideas and create a mind map. Mind mapping has the magic to clear your head and have your thoughts organized.

                          If you can’t always have access to a paper and pen, don’t worry! Creating a mind map with software is very effective and you get none of the drawbacks of pen and paper. You can also apply the above steps and strategies just the same when using a mind mapping tool on the phone and computer.

                          More Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts

                          Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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