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How Handwritten Notes Make You More Influential

How Handwritten Notes Make You More Influential

Remember the days when you’d sit down and write out all your thank you letters? Picking out the nicest writing paper and carving out the perfect response? Maybe you even had a pen pal you wrote to on the other side of the world.

The art of handwritten notes has fallen short in today’s quick-and-easy methods of communication. Text messaging and social media messaging has numbed the excitement and personalisation of conveying that special response — it’s all too easy and sterile with no real sense of character and thoughtfulness.

To show how handwritten notes are so effective, a U.S. company called HEX decided their customer loyalty could go one step further. Gone were the automated thank you emails to each customer and in came 13,000 handwritten thank you notes from the employees themselves.

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How does this make a difference? Well, handwritten notes can actually make us more influential at work, in business, and in our own personal lives. It evokes positive communication and has great influence on those both sending and receiving a handwritten note.

How Handwritten Notes Can Make Us More Influential

Rarity Creates Value

Handwritten notes are pretty rare these days. Can you remember the last time you sat down with a pen and paper and really thought about what to write? This is why handwritten notes are so influential — the rarity of writing and receiving a letter adds to its value. It means someone has put thought and effort into something that could easily be written in a 30-second text message.

Genuine And Edit-Free

When we send a text message, the ease at which we can deliberate and edit the message creates the sense of a lack of authenticity and genuine intent. When we handwrite a letter, editing is less occurrent, so the notes are deemed a better reflection of our genuine feelings.

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Material Keepsakes

A physical note can be cherished and kept, making them more memorable for the receiver, unlike text messages that just become another number in our inbox. How many of us have those letters from friends and relatives in a shoebox stuffed at the back of a drawer? How nice is it to look back and reread them? Memories come flooding back and smiles appear across our faces. A text message years from now will be long gone to the invisible messaging graveyard.

Evoke An Impression On The Receiver

Research has found up to 100 instant messages can be sent by one person alone each day, with corporate email accounts receiving and sending 100 emails a day. We are so used to receiving this daily wash of words that, as stated earlier, we devalue the meanings. Receiving a quick email thanking you may initially rise a sense of warmth but it’s quickly lost and forgotten in the sea of emails and messages.

A handwritten note shows deeper investment as paper, stamps, drafting, and visiting the mailbox indicates costliness in both time and effort — the appreciation is perceived as greater and leaves a lasting impression. It can show a person is not forgotten, follow up on previous conversations, or even include a gift; all of which show care and thoughtfulness.

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Positive psychology research shows the importance of gratitude on our wellbeing and happiness and it shouldn’t be underestimated how little shows of appreciation can have a massive effect on someone. Creating this in handwritten form is a powerful influencer, upping the wellbeing of both you and the receiver. Leaving a stronger emotional impression on the receiver gives us the power to be more influential.

How To Make Use Of Daily Handwritten Notes

So, how can we bring back the art of handwriting our notes instead of sending off a quick text? Writing has always been seen as expressing our personality, so it’s a perfect way to get creative.

Personification

Making your note unique and personal will always be a winner. Whether you leave a note for your other half when you leave in the morning or say thank you to a friend or neighbour, don’t be afraid to put your stamp on it. Go back to your childhood when you’d draw doodles and smiley faces (the original and best emoji!). Make it personalised for them.

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Make It Longer Than A Standard Text Message

Short notes are great, but to really influence and make an impact, particularly at work, make sure the note is longer than what you would write in a standard text message. This shows you’ve really put effort and thought into it — especially if it’s involving your customers.

Emotional Expression

When we write text messages, the fast nature of writing and sending them detracts from emotional sentiment. To make a handwritten note that’s much more special, take the time to express how you feel through gratitude, thanks, warmth, and a sense of connection. These are things we tend to leave out when we know it will end up in someone’s trash inbox almost straight away. Take the opportunity to really get those feelings across.

Time Intervals

Unfortunately, as humans we adapt to things very quickly, which is why we tend to devalue something the more we have it and the same can be applied to receiving handwritten notes. Make sure you don’t send them too frequently to one person or there could be a danger of adaptability. Make it a special one-off every now and then and catch people by surprise.

So, why not make that special impact on someone — be different from the rest and stand out. Let’s bring back the art of handwritten notes and rise against soulless text messages and keyboards!

Featured photo credit: Aaron Burden via stocksnap.io

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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