Two weeks ago, I released my latest podcast, titled “Call or Text”. The theme of the message was, when faced with a choice, to consider a phone call instead of a text. Why? Because studies show that a phone call is so much more relational, and a call strengthens relationships—a text only conveys information.
Today’s blog is a “next step” in the development of communication skills and influence upon others.
I am convinced that a handwritten note packs a lot of power in sending affirmation and strengthening a relationship. I am a big believer in sending handwritten notes to clients, colleagues, family members, and friends whom I feel need acknowledgment and affirmation. Email is efficient, but not very warm, and certainly not motivational.
I find handwritten notes to be far more effective. When I notice something done well, I make a note (mental or written) and later make time to send those responsible a handwritten note of acknowledgment or to convey thanks. As I walked in and out of classrooms and offices at Life Christian Academy, the school I lead for twenty-six years, it was both humbling and encouraging to see those same handwritten notes taped to the edge of computer screens, pinned on bulletin boards near colleague’s desks, or otherwise promptly displayed on a bulletin board.
I have made a habit of conveying this teaching to my executive team. I have walked into team meetings on numerous times with a stack of note cards and envelopes. I would ask my team members to spend fifteen minutes of our meeting time writing notes to their team members that they felt need encouragement and affirmation.
I read a book several years ago titled “They Smell Like Sheep”, where the author Lynn Anderson writes about leading and serving people. The “smell” refers to his feeling that people, like sheep, have a “smell” to them, because their lives are part failure, part sadness, and part challenge. The author teaches in the book that in serving others, we need to realize that people have needs, and as leaders, we must be prepared to work with or lift people living within challenging circumstances. Many people need an encouraging word, and a handwritten note, sent at just the right time, can be the “extra lift” that person needs from you.
In my book, “Winning Words-Speaking Life to Influence Others” I write about the opportunity to provide encouragement to others. At the end of each chapter, I provide four-five questions titled “Questions to Affect Your Life”. In closing this blog, can I ask you one question? Who do you know right now that needs a lift or words of encouragement? As soon as you have that answer, I would ask that you take five minutes, prepare the handwritten note, and put it in the mail. Then wait for the response—I flat guarantee you will like the result!