Did you know we all have something in common? We actually do.

Every one of us appreciates receiving a timely handwritten note. Such a gesture of written thanks makes us feel noteworthy, and that is a special feeling.

I hope that in the midst of today’s fast-paced world and technological dependency, people still will take the time to write meaningful notes. If you are doing so, you are standing out. Believe me.

Writing notes – especially thoughtful ones – can make a difference in the life of the person receiving it. Let’s not underestimate this fact. The recipient could be having a really difficult day, and then she reads your note and some light of encouragement suddenly shines through the challenges of the morning and afternoon.

Here are a couple of tips to make your notes highly effective. Just a few points to remember.

  1. Keep it timely. Send the note promptly after you have spent time with the person. Within 24 hours is typically my rule. You are showing respect to the person this way; you also have your time together and its key details fresh on your mind, which is especially important if you are, like me, in the over-50 memory club!
  2. Make it legible. A note is not impressionable if the person receiving it can’t decipher your handwriting. So, in short, work on your penmanship. Take your time writing your note and use a reliable pen. I have found a pen I really like that has helped me keep my writing as legible as possible. And along with the note, make sure you have the right stationery. Something simple and clean. Not fancy but a classy look and feel. And use a stamp that is meaningful to you. I use, for instance, the Purple Heart stamp to honor my dad who was a D-Day Purple Heart recipient in World War II.
  3. Be specific. Your note needs to refer to something you specifically discussed, for example, during a breakfast or lunch meeting. Why does this matter? It shows you listened. It demonstrates you’re focused and you are a person of follow up and action – both important leadership traits.
  4. Show a little piece of your heart. Your note needs to say something heartfelt. Give the person you are writing to a little glimpse into what makes you tick. Tell them they are an inspiration or they have taught you an important business lesson or they are such a loyal friend. Whatever you want them to know, let them know it. Now, it does not have to be emotionally over the top or express something that does not sound like you, but you should be willing to say to someone in writing how they inspire or motivate you to be a better person. I can’t tell you how many letters I have gone back to and read to brighten my day and remind myself I am actually making an impact. Reading these treasured letters is a darn good feeling. It can be almost medicinal.
  5. Make it keepable. A powerful letter that combines the above elements is keepable. You keep it on your desk or in a special drawer. People keep notes. Why? Because notes matter. Again, people want to feel noteworthy.

So, who do you need to write to today? Take the time to do it.

Trust me, you won’t regret it. Go ahead now and make it happen. You could brighten someone’s day and yours!