Handwritten Thank-You Notes Have Surprising Consequences

In a recent piece on Psychology Today’s site, Author Christopher Bergland asks readers:  “When was the last time you sent someone a handwritten ‘thank you’ note of gratitude or appreciation?”

Throughout the article, Bergland references a fascinating new study on the underestimated benefits of handwritten letters and the importance of putting pen to paper. This study, “Undervaluing Gratitude: Expressers Misunderstand the Consequences of Showing Appreciation,” was led by Amit Kumar, Assistant Professor of Marketing at the University of Texas, and Nicholas Epley, Professor of Behavioral Science at the University of Chicago.

One of our favorite points from the research is how the action of expressing gratitude in a handwritten letter is proven to boost positive emotions for both the writer and the recipient; it’s a win-win situation!

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“We looked at what’s correlating with people’s likelihood of expressing gratitude—what drives those choices—and what we found is that predictions or expectations of that awkwardness, that anticipation of how a recipient would feel—those are the things that matter when people are deciding whether to express gratitude or not,” Kumar said in a statement. “What we saw is that it only takes a couple of minutes to compose letters like these, thoughtful ones and sincere ones. It comes at little cost, but the benefits are larger than people expect.”

Over here at Dempsey & Carroll, we always love reading about the positive feelings associated with handwritten letters. We invite you to read Bergland’s full post, “Handwritten Thank-You Notes Have Surprising Consequences,” so that you can get inspired to put pen to paper!

#makingtraditionsmodern

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National Letter Writing Month 2018

There are countless reasons to send a well crafted letter, whether it’s pages long or just a quick note. In celebration of April being National Letter Writing Month, we wanted to share a few reasons to pick up a pen and write!

 

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Congratulate someone on their new home

 

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Thank someone for great cocktails at a much needed Happy Hour

 

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Reminisce about a recent road trip with friends

 

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Remind someone that you’re thinking of them

 

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Write a love letter

 

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Wish someone good luck on their upcoming audition

 

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Send a letter from a new city in a foreign language

 

How are you getting inspired to write during National Letter Writing Month? Use the #writeitreal hashtag and tag @dempseycarroll on Instagram to share your letter writing inspiration with us!

A Note From Our CEO

We always think that it’s important to start the New Year on a new note. Our CEO Lauren Marrus shares a few of her thoughts from Bob Greene’s opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal about the importance of making a meaningful resolution for the New Year.DSC_6428

Over the holidays I had lots of time to relax with my family and read books, magazines and lots of newspapers.  On December 29th as I was trying to come up with a meaningful resolution – beyond the usual – I found Bob Greene’s opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal.  Mr. Greene discusses the value to be found in generosity of spirit and quotes frequently from a speech made by Chief Justice John Roberts at his son’s ninth grade graduation. Worth repeating here, I am quoting directly from the speech.

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Chief Justice Roberts says, “Once a week, you should write a note to someone.  Not an email.  A note on a piece of paper.  It will take you exactly 10 minutes.”

He goes on to say that if you do this, for 10 months, “40 people will feel a little more special because you did, and they will think you are very special because of what you did”.

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Many of us already practice this habit – a quick note after a dinner party; a thank you for the business meeting; and a sympathy note all too frequently.  What if we all added in a few more notes to make those around us feel just a little more special?  I, for one, wouldn’t mind feeling just a little bit special every now and then.

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For the Love of Script: The Importance of Teaching Cursive Writing in Schools

Dempsey & Carroll’s Austin Ackles shares his thoughts on the importance of script and how cursive writing should always be taught in schools.

I know there’s a lot of debate about teaching cursive writing in schools, but studies have shown that when notes are taken by hand (versus notes typed into a device), the information is much better retained. Furthermore, writing in cursive is fast and efficient, while block printing tends to take more time.

I can’t imagine someone not having a cursive signature. Though digital signatures are now legally binding when necessary, something important like a condolence letter should always be handwritten and sent through the post. A Facebook message or email is never acceptable for serious, life changing matters.

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When I was searching for my last two jobs, I would apply electronically and then send a printed hard copy in the mail. I know that the electronic applications to several companies were completely overlooked while the printed ones got me in the door. At the bottom of those printed cover letters, you must have a cursive signature to finish it off. Following a job interview, a handwritten thank you note will be noticed and remembered far longer than an email.

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Dempsey & Carroll always gets busy in the early fall with parents ordering engraved correspondence cards for their children. It’s school application time and those kids will all be following up with handwritten thank you notes after interviews. Cursive writing is a must if you’re looking to impress admissions at prestigious schools.

reply-card-1.jpgWhile a few of our clients do send digital save the dates, everyone sends a printed wedding invitation. As the recipient, you will need to send back a reply card, and a cursive signature is going to look very appropriate after that “M” prompt on many R.S.V.P cards.

 

 

If my child’s school did not teach cursive writing, I would teach it to her myself. Good social skills and dexterity never go out of fashion!

 

 

How to Send a Thoughtful Thank You

LCR-Monogram copyA sincere and eloquent note of thanks will be remembered forever.  Thank-you notes allow us to acknowledge deeds large and small, in a thoughtful and considered way.  Here are a few of Dempsey & Carroll’s tips to perfecting this skill.

1)  Set aside adequate time to think about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it.  If your note is rushed, it may come off as perfunctory or insincere.

2)  Make sure your handwriting is as good as it can be.  Warm up by drawing loops on scratch paper or by writing a draft of your note.  If your handwriting is difficult to read, it’s fine to print.

3)  Make a list of the things you want to mention or include.  If you received a gift, what do you like about it?  If you were treated to dinner, what was especially delicious?  Was there an anecdote or funny story you want to reference?

4)  Express your gratitude in heartfelt words.  Good thank-you notes make the recipient feel special when you clearly mean all those nice things you write.

5)  If possible, avoid leading with “Thank you for…” – your note will sound fresher and less formulaic if you start off with anything else.  Try “Dinner was delicious!” or “Did you know red is my favorite color?”

6)  Finish with a strong line, such as “I really appreciate your thoughtfulness” or “We hope to see you and Ted again very soon.”

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In Honor of New Princess Charlotte

We love this article about the replies schoolchildren receive from the Queen and Princess Kate. Here are some of our favorites…

“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have asked me to thank you for the lovely postcard you recently sent in which you wrote so enthusiastically about your holiday to Italy.”

“It really was most thoughtful of you and their Royal Highnesses have asked me to send their warmest thanks and best wishes.”

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Writing Notes

Repost from our friends at The Bouker:

I spend a good portion of my day sitting down to write notes to people. I believe the time taken to handwrite a personal note to someone means a whole lot more then firing off an email. Also, I hold those who take the time to write me a note in higher regard.

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This is why I find this Edward Jones ad so powerful:

Handwritten Notes from the CEO

While in flight to Engage14, I stumbled upon Rodger Dean Duncan’s article entitled “How Campbell’s Soup’s Former CEO Turned the Company Around” on Fast Company. Doug Conant, the former CEO of Campbell’s Soup, practiced the art of the handwritten note to sincerely extend his gratitude and praise to his employees. Through several kind gestures, he deftly transformed performance gaps into opportunities to connect with his team on an emotional level.

When a leader extends praise and appreciation through a handwritten note, it is a moment to reflect. It’s a humbling experience to put pen to paper simply out of respect for the recipient. The private and intimate nature of a written note is far more compelling and showing of gratitude than a quick and easy email or text message.

Jennifer Pool,

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An excerpt from “How Campbell’s Soup’s Former CEO Turned the Company Around” by Roger Dean Duncan:

In addition to putting in lots of steps, Conant did something else that’s unusual for a CEO. He hand wrote up to 20 notes a day to employees celebrating their successes and contributions. “I was trained to find the busted number in a spreadsheet and identify things that are going wrong,” he says. “Most cultures don’t do a good job of celebrating contributions. So I developed the practice of writing notes to our employees. Over 10 years, it amounted to more than 30,000 notes, and we had only 20,000 employees. Wherever I’d go in the world, in employee cubicles you’d find my handwritten notes posted on their bulletin boards.”

Conant’s notes were not gratuitous. They celebrated specific contributions. And because the notes were handwritten, they seemed to be treasured more than an email message might be.

A spotlight on Bizia Greene

Dempsey & Carroll event curator Austin Ackles sat down with Bizia to discuss etiquette and her recent wedding.bizia1

AA: Most of our clients have their thank you cards printed at the same time as their wedding invitations. Occasionally, I get panicked phone calls as gifts start arriving far in advance of the wedding. When should the thank you cards be sent?

BG: Ideally thank you notes should be sent as gifts arrive but you can allow up to three months after the wedding. Give yourself a head start by ordering stationery, selecting beautiful postage and addressing envelopes in advance of your wedding date. After the whirlwind of the celebrations and honeymoon you’ll be glad to come home to part of the task complete. Make writing your notes a relaxing ritual with a well lit, comfortable space accompanied by a cup of tea or glass of bubbly. Share the task with your partner and write a few a day.

AA: With the holiday season approaching, we’ll all be attending too many wonderful parties. What should every gracious thank you note include?

BG: When thanking your host, reference something unique about the event that moved you i.e. the beautiful decor, the delicious trifle like your grandmother used to make or the new friends you made. By making it personal your host will know the event was a success and you’re sure to get an invite to the next soirée.

.AA: What thank you card have you received that left you with the most lasting impression?

BG: Thank you notes that expressed the impact of our attention to detail and effort stand out. My husband and I received a few shortly after our wedding complimenting our weekend events, decor, catering and seating arrangements to name a few. It made us feel like all the hard work we put into curating a memorable and warm celebration was recognized and appreciated.

AA: Your own wedding was just about two months ago. In terms of planning, what was your biggest worry that simply evaporated on the big day?

BG: The weather, of course! Our wedding ceremony and reception were supposed to be outside. Although we had a rain plan, most of our energy wabizia2s spent on the outdoor vision. We began the ceremony outside and midway through thunder and lightning moved in quickly. Guests rallied and began carrying their chairs indoors where we finished the ceremony. I got to arrive at my own wedding twice and was relieved to see what good sports they all were. We dined by candlelight because the power went out. In fact, everyone thought the evening was very memorable and laughed about it. In the end, guests are there to celebrate you rain or shine.