I have the worst memory. The worst. I remember lots of faces, but very few names to go with those lovely faces. My life is full of those awkward moments when forgetting a person's name is beyond embarrassing. It can even be detrimental to my business relationships. Many times I've laid my cards on the table and say "I'm so sorry, since we last met I seem to have forgotten your name!" Ouch!
In the course of starting or maintaining a business, networking within your industry, or contacting potential clients the likelihood is you will meet an abundance of people.
Many of them will be wonderful acquaintances (Mary's friend who works for a non-profit, or that guy who works downstairs and always brings donuts to your office), but a select few will be very important to the growth of your business or career.
In that instance, remembering their name, and having them remember yours, will be infinitely important. So how do you stand out & rise above the noise?
A handwritten note, or thank you note is the BEST way to stand out from the crowd and be remembered by clients, business contacts, and industry leaders. It will also help you remember names of those very important people!
However, it takes more than a "hello" or "nice to meet you" to make an impression.
Here is our step by step guide to writing the perfect professional note that will help you become unforgettable:
One. It all begins with how you first came in contact.
If you met this person at an event, or within a group: try to get a business card, or make a note in your phone. What did you speak specifically about (in connection with your career or business), and what made that connection important?
Another tip: write down something you noticed about them - the color of their shirt, or a fabulous necklace. This will help you remember their face and remembering and mentioning small details will always help you stand out!
Or if you "met" them virtually (through FB, LinkedIn, or email): you will want to find a connection. Do you have a mutual acquaintance? Have you worked in a similar field? Or do you both love the show "Scandal"? These small connections will move your relationship from the digital world to the real world.
Two. What kind of note do you write?
This all depends on what you're trying to achieve with this note. Are you trying to woo a potential client? Or are you creating a connection you may call on later in your career?
Maybe you are thanking them for attending your event, or for recommending your business or skills to a friend.
No matter why you're contacting them writing a note is easy:
Three. A 4 step note writing recipe:
Before you begin: ALWAYS write the date. I like to use the month/year format. This is important because it gives the recipient context on when they "met" you!
Step 1: How do you address it? How were you introduced to this person? Formally? Informally? However you were introduced will be the most appropriate way to address the envelope and inside of card.
Step 2: Introduce yourself. Say hello and let them know who you are! Remind them where you "met" and what you conversed about.
This is the perfect spot to write your personal observations or small connections: I am so happy to have met you at the *insert networking event*. Also, the necklace you wore was so fabulous. OR It was so kind of Sandra to introduce us over email. She is one savvy woman and I am fortunate to know her!
Step 3: The meat of the note. This is where you are allowed to plug yourself or your business. Be careful not to get to spammy: i.e. -"Sign up now to buy my product for just 3 payments for $99.99!"
It's imperative you write this in your voice: we tend to edit ourselves in business and networking. Most professionals will use standard business language, but standard language is just that - standard. And standard writing will not cut it if you want to stand out, be remembered, and create a connection.
There is no better way to connect to another human than to show your humanity. Employ humor or a personal story to drive your point home. You know what is appropriate within the context of your note, so use your judgement when sharing.
Finally, keep in mind the purpose of your note. Are you thanking them? Are you hoping to make a business connection? Be certain your writing has hit upon that purpose, or else the reader will be left wondering why you sent it!
Step 4: End your note with a call to action. This is a request for communication, for a meet-up, or the possibility of working together in the future.
Example: Please call me if you find yourself in need of a social media expert. Or I'd love to buy you coffee sometime and speak more in-depth about your company.
P.S. Also include information on how they can contact you.
Handwritten notes may feel daunting to write at first, but once you begin you will find it's much easier than anticipated. Use each note as an opportunity to increase your skills and widen your reach!
Just as important as writing the perfect note, so is picking the perfect card in which to write! I've made selecting the perfect card for your handwritten note easy: shop our thank you cards & note cards here!
Let me know in the comments below, or through email (firstname.lastname@example.org) how this worked for you or if you have any other tips!
And please share this with friends & colleagues you know will benefit!
With love & tea,