A few days ago, I posted on the difference between strategy and tactics and recommended identifying strategy first and then move to tactics. Selecting effective tactics depends, of course, on the strategy and the ultimate goal. Building relationships almost always comes into play, though. Strong client relationships form the foundation of a healthy practice; strong collegial relationships are a key component of a satisfying professional life; strong professional relationships create openings for a variety of career opportunities. Today, I’d like to share one tactic that I’ve found indispensable for relationship-building.
Think back to the last time you received a hand-written note. They stand out, don’t they? Penmanship catches special attention these days, when even wedding invitations are often computer-addressed. Personal notes are usually a different size and shape from ordinary business correspondence, and when I receive one, I always pause because it’s so unexpected. Have you received a hand-written note this week? No? Well, you aren’t alone — far from it — and there’s your opportunity.
Because it’s out of the ordinary, a note generates attention that an email never will. I like sending notes “just because,” to thank someone for a kindness, or to pass on something of interest to the recipient. Notes create personal connection. Because they’re tangible and reflect energy expended, a hand-written note demonstrates that, at least for the time it took to write and mail the note, the recipient was top-of-mind. It’s nice to be thought of that way, and that thoughtfulness will generate a positive association and begin (or continue) the process of relationship-building. I imagine my clients get tired of hearing me suggest, “why not drop him a note?” But I know, and they discover, the positive results that often follow.