I spent some time talking about the beginnings of the Thank You Thursday program at Sprint the other day and promised to follow-up regularly with some more detail on various aspects of how it all came about. Today, some time on why I was so attracted to the handwritten note as a medium.
I often feel a little guilty about what companies like mine have done to the emotional and personal connection involved in communicating with others. Technology like email, text messages and the enablement of social networking have made the barriers to communicating lower but at the same time a lot less meaningful. My company has 50 million paying subscribers sending an average of 1,000 text messages per month. Getting its employees to handwrite notes sounded so remarkable it was almost unbelievable.
I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with handwriting…. It’s not something I’m particularly good at and by the time I was in 4th grade, typing classes were already replacing the art of cursive. That being said, my Mom was always adamant that I personally thank family members at the normal gift intervals in my life.
That same attitude followed me through life and into my relationship with my wife, Stacey, who not only took the time to write thank you notes for gifts, but even for fairly basic things others did for her. I still remember the first time we stayed the night at my parent’s house as a couple. My Mom called me a couple of days after we left and asked if I knew that Stacey sent a note to thank them for providing some basic accommodations for her cat. Though my Mom was/is protective of her first-born son, it was evident that this girl was just fine by her.
Mail in general is fairly boring…yet, you most likely rush out to your mailbox every day after work in hopes that something there will blow you away. Among the bills, junk mail, bank statements and advertisements, it’s rare to see something like a personal note. Second only to a package from UPS, a letter with a handwritten address label and postmarked stamp is sure to get you excited…even more so when it’s un-provoked.
Which brings me to the reason for tonight’s post. I came home tonight to discover a postcard from my friend Jason in the stack of junk mail. I won’t take complete credit for him jotting a quick note and putting it in the mail, but I’ll thank him publicly for taking the time. It changed my day!!
Be like Jason….go write a note to someone you know real quick. No reason necessary, just do it.