Mark Curtis
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April 14, 2014
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What if Grandpa went to school in the email era?I am a big fan of the written letter or note.  I love when I get something in the mail, hand-addressed and written especially for me.  I enjoy sending them, too, although don’t do it as often as I should.  My friend Eric Morgenstern at Morningstar Communications has penned a blog about the power of the handwritten note.

My friend Dana Hughens has a whole story about Myrtle and her postcards, ask her about it sometime.

I had a great coffee meeting a few weeks ago with Shelby Ray, a student at Illinois State University, whom I met in line at the Reading Terminal in Philly during the PRSA conference (and that’s a story for another post). She was in Phoenix visiting her grandparents while on spring break.

One of the pieces of advice I gave her was to always follow-up an informational interview with a handwritten thank you note.  It may take a couple extra minutes to do, but will go a long way in distinguishing yourself from other job seekers.

And that led to the story about my Grandpa.  He immigrated to this country when he was a little boy, never having had much of a formal education. He was a successful businessman and later in life decided to go to adult school to improve his language and writing skills.  And one of his assignments was to write letters.  He was in Minneapolis and we had moved to Phoenix by then so he wrote letters to us.  How fun it was to receive them in the mail.

But what if Grandpa had gone to school in today’s day and age?  Would he learn good handwriting skills in order to write a letter and mail it?  Or would he learn to send a quick note via email?

I’ve got letters, cards, postcards and other personal notes that date back to junior high.  They were important to me at the time and I like knowing I have them now.  And you’ll never hear me say I need to “delete delete delete” them in the same way I do with my emails.

There’s something very powerful about the written word.

Abbie S. Fink
Abbie S. Fink
Vice President/General Manager Abbie has been doing public relations her whole life…from organizing a picket line in 6th grade to organizing client communications today. She’s passionate about a lot of things, you’ll see. Check out Abbie's full bio

6 Comments

  1. Shelby Ray says:

    Just as this topic fascinated me during our coffee meeting, it still makes me wonder. You’re right, there is something powerful about the written word. Whether or not people are practicing that in today’s age probably depends on the person. I’d say based on my experience it’s definitely not emphasized in school as much as it was during your grandpa’s time in school. To my dad’s credit, he got me in the habit, at a very young age, of writing thank you cards for every birthday that I still do today.

  2. Marcia Fine says:

    Abbie, I loved the story about your Grandpa! You know my novel, PAPER CHILDREN, was based on family letters. It’s disappointing to learn penmanship is no longer being taught in schools! Gone! I will continue to write thank-you notes!
    Marcia

  3. Dana Hughens says:

    Oh how I love real mail! When I was a kid I wrote letters to my aunt who lived in Chicago. She still has them, and I still have the ones she wrote to me.

    Just last night I was telling the story of Myrtle’s postcards to two friends who have known each other about 40 years but live on different coasts. They share a Tuesday morning phone call each week, as well as written correspondence sent via the US Postal System.

  4. […] or go in for an interview, write that person a thank you card. As Abbie mentioned in a previous post, handwriting and mailing thank you cards goes a long way in today world. It is much more thoughtful […]

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