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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 February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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