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Personal Touch Goes a Long Way

Open your mailbox and what do you see? Bills, catalogs, flyers and a plethora of junk mail that make it only as far as your recycling bin. For many individuals and companies, handwritten correspondence — thank you notes, letters or other written communication — have nearly vanished from their mailboxes. These days, instant communication, such as emails, text messages and Facebook posts, are replacing the oft-coveted handwritten messages that were prevalent a mere decade ago. But is this appropriate for today’s business environment? How should today’s meeting and event planners approach communication with their clients? With a good understanding of how clients respond to today’s communication tools, meeting professionals can choose the best method for their clientele.

Walk down the stationery aisle of any major office retail chain and you’ll notice something interesting — the aisles that once housed numerous styles of stationery and notepaper are shrinking. Thanks in part to electronic communication, businesses see these paper tools as archaic means of communication. They think email, text messaging and social media tools are the streamlined means of communicating with their constituents. Think again.

Handwritten thank you notes, birthday and holiday cards with a quick note are special — even invitations to an event with a handwritten sentence, “Hope you can make it,” “It would be great to share some wine with you” or “It would be so great to socialize with you.” This makes a person feel special and important.

While experts agree that personal communication methods are key to building strong customer relationships and establishing brand awareness in the minds of your clients, electronic communication certainly has its place in today’s communication methods.

For example, e-newsletters are great to save on paper and wood, and get information out there quickly. It also provides the opportunity for people to print out only certain sections that are of particular interest to them.

Texting and instant messaging are also being used in today's office environment. However, they come with the same positives and negatives of other electronic communications. There are often times they should pick up the phone or have a personal meeting (when possible) because communicating with clients is all about establishing and building relationships. A handwritten note is a very strong tool that’s vastly underused in virtually every service-oriented business. It’s a ‘ping’ that’s likely to echo back to you in some way soon.