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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 July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

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Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’

From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

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How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.

The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

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Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.

4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

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6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’

If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

Final Thoughts

Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.

Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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