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September 18, 2006


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Some people pray for more than they are willing to work for.


Michael L.

I couldn't agree more with Duncan. As a professional I use a system called that allows me to send out thank you notes in my own handwriting with a click of a mouse. LOOKS AS REAL AS MY ACTUAL HANDWRITING! Check it out.

Barbara Langham

Thank you Robert and Duncan for your musings on thank you notes. You do Emily Post proud. Thanking people in any kind of written communication is rarer and rarer. I'm not as good about it as Duncan, but I keep a box of thank you notes in my desk drawer (as well as a stack of various cards) so they are handy when wanted and thus mouch more likely to go out.
And thanks Kathy and Judy for the sendcards lead. Seems a good resource to have.
In addition, we send congratulations notes to people who win awards or receive promotions. We make no pitch in the note, as it must be a genuine congratulations. If this is a contact we see as potential business, we will find other ways to get before them after a month or six weeks has passed. Send an article of interest, look out for them at meetings, etc. Even if there is no business involved, it helps keep us positively in the minds of our business community. We had a law firm partner call us as a result of a congratulations note particularly because we had not made any pitch in the note. We had 2 years worth of PR support for litigation across several states.
I personally also send an online birthday card to everyone who has shared their birthday with me through PLAXCO or other means. PLAXCO sends me reminder e-mails and others who are members of this contact management system and have used it to keep their information up to date in my database) have the opportunity to put their birthdays into their contact data that comes back to my computer. I've found this a guick positive tool for sending a good wish while reminding the person, I'm here and thinking of them. I always write my own personal note instead of using the script. I've gotten a lot of positive response from these cards, even though they are online. I usually send 5 or 6 a week.
I also send get well notes this way from my Incredimail software when I know someone is sick. It's still better to buy and send the cards. Sometimes I do both. Again, the message is not canned, I write a personal note.
Oh yes, if you haven't seen her cards yet, take a look at Jacquie Lawson's online cards at They are beautiful animations with exquisite detail and cover a variety of occasions. There is a small fee, something less than $10 per year.
So greetings, thank you for sharing, congratulations for your thoughtfullness and do have a splendid birthday celebration when your day comes along -- and celebrate each and every day as if it was your birthday simply because of the joy of being alive.

Kathy Paauw

Duncan hit the nail on the head about sending personal handwritten notes. As a productivity consultant and a business & personal coach, I constantly hear two things from my clients: (1) I WANT to stay in touch in a more personal way to build relationships with those I care about -- family, friends, prospects, clients, referral partners. (2) I WISH I had more time to do what I know I need to do to build on those important relationships.

It seems that everyone is short on time, so intention and action don't always meet.

About a year ago I started using a remarkable technology that enables me to log into an account with SendOutCards and select a personal greeting card from 7000+ in stock, or create my own custom card in about a minute. (This is especially fun if I have a photo of my client or prospect -- they LOVE seeing themselves on the front of a card!) Then I type my personal heart-felt message into the card and click SEND. SendOutCards does the rest. They print it USING MY OWN HANDWRITING FONT & SIGNATURE, address the envelope for me, place a real stamp on it, and deliver it to the post office, all for about a dollar.

This is one of the best productivity and relationship-building tools I have ever found. It only takes me a minute to get a card out now. I get cards back in the mail thanking me for my cards!

I really related to what Duncan said about how sending cards makes HIM feel. I'm not sure who benefits more -- me or the recipient. When we take the time to express appreciation, something significant happens. Ever since I started sending cards regularly, both my personal and professional relationships have been positively impacted. If anyone is interested in trying it for free, visit

Samantha Hartley

How am I making more personal connections with my clients? Well, I've just started an email newsletter, which I think will help. I always feel a one-on-one connection with the people whose newsletters I read, even though they may have thousands of people on their lists.

I also do a lot of thank you notes. In a innetworking workshop I teach, I refer to both handwritten notes and the mere act of following up with someone as differentiators because *nobody* does it. Oddly, you can share this powerful tip with as many people as you like, and your doing it will still be unique, because ... well, you get the idea.

Another thing I've done since leaving my large networking group is arrange small networking lunches with clients, vendors and others (like non-profits) that I feel would benefit from meeting each other. These are stress-free and enjoyable, but serious enough to lead to profitable connections for several involved. It lets my contacts know I'm thinking about them, and it keeps me on everyone's radar screen.

Judy Murdoch

Using Send Out Cards.

I've always sent handwritten thank you notes because (1). There's something special about getting a handwritten note in your mail box and (2). I think it's so important to express appreciation to people who have made a postive difference...however small.

Since June I've been using Send Out Cards to send Thank You Notes. What I love about Send Out Cards is that it's as easy as creating an ecard but the recipient receives a real stamped card in their mail box. It allows for far more immediacy because I don't have to fumble around looking for stamps, buying the right card, etc.

Although the cards are not hand addressed it's still a wonderful way to get in touch in a meaningful way and to make people feel special and appreciated.

If you don't send cards because it's simply too much hassle to deal with cards, stamps, messy handwriting, etc, this is pretty darn good solution.


Rich Brooks

First off, nothing I say should be taken as a dismissal of Duncan's opinion; I wholeheartedly agree that a hand written note can cut through the clutter. Who among us doesn't look with incredulity when we receive an envelope with a handwritten address...especially at work!

At my previous company I wrote handwritten notes after each initial meeting I had with a prospect, and often I saw those thank you notes tacked to bulletin boards for years after. It left as big an impression on me as it obviously did for the recipient.

However, autoresponders play an important role in online communication. They let the site visitor know that an action he/she has taken has been noticed. That their completed form didn't disappear into the ether. As site owners we just need to make sure we follow up with these prospects and clients with a human-generated note afterwards.

I also believe that when using AWeber, Constant Contact or any other autoresponder/email service provider, the very first thing you need to do is delete the generic text the company provides and write your own.

This is what we call "hidden text," as you often don't see it on your Web site, but your prospects do. If your company has a personality, whether it's humorous, straight-laced, laid back, professional, etc., these "hidden text" messages are where you can differentiate yourself from your competition.

That being said, Duncan nailed it as far as finding an old school way of connecting with his customers. Now I just have to go practice my penmanship.

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