Master the Power of a Handwritten Note: Part 1

Posted: August 3, 2011 in Networking
Tags: , , , ,

Nowadays, email is increasingly becoming the most common method of communication, whether it is personal or business-related. Getting ahold of the email address of a sports executive is not all it’s cracked up to be anymore, unless you have some personal connection to him or her. Just think about the hundreds of emails these people are receiving on a daily basis. In all honesty, the majority of the messages others send will be more important than whatever you are sending them. Therefore, your email will probably get buried in their inbox, never to be seen again.

All hope is not lost. If you really want to get a sports professional’s attention in this day and age, I would recommend sending them a handwritten note. Depending on your objective for reaching out to this person, the length of the note will vary.

Based on my experience over the past couple of years, the most common handwritten note sent is the “thank you” note. You might be thinking that one should only send these types of notes when receiving gifts. Wrong. If you want to make a lasting impression on someone and truly appreciate whatever help he or she gave you, say “thank you”. Sure, you could thank the person via email. Without a doubt, he or she would appreciate it, but it is likely that it will be forgotten down the road. If you want to really impress someone and plan on continuing your relationship, you will write them a short, personalized note. This requires slightly more effort than email, but it is well worth it given its more permanent nature. Just like my mentor Rachel Mech taught us about how it is more memorable to speak with people on the phone vs. email, the same applies to handwritten notes.

Just to illustrate the power of the handwritten note, I want to share a little anecdote with you. Back in September 2010, I got a chance to see NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith speak at Georgetown University about the state of the NFL. This was long before the actual lockout took place, but it was certainly looming at that time. He spoke about issues including the success of the league’s business model as well as the risk of concussions for players. See below for the introductory part of Smith’s presentation that night.

After Smith’s 2 hour presentation, I left the auditorium as a more informed football fan. I was happy I attended, so happy in fact that I wanted to thank him for it. After looking up the local NFPA’s address, I sent DeMaurice Smith a note thanking him for speaking and putting my confidence in him to get a deal done with the owners, hopefully before the CBA expired. About a week later, I received a handwritten note in the mail from DeMaurice Smith’s personal stationery. He thanked me for the feedback and support I provided him. Enclosed in the envelope was an NFLPA lapel pin. All because I wrote him a nice handwritten note. Since then, I have kept his note in my desk as a reminder of the power of the handwritten note.

If I can get the attention of someone like DeMaurice Smith, there is no reason you cannot get in touch with sports business professionals that you idolize. So, go to your local pharmacy or bookstore and buy yourself some “thank you” notes!

  1. Hand-written notes are a lost art. And like you stated, they are indeed powerful, mainly because almost no one writes them any more.

    If you can make it a habit to mail a hand-written Thank You card to everyone that touches your life, you’ll strike gold.

  2. rnm says:

    I’ve heard time and again… the handwritten thank you note often seals the “interview deal.” great advice, Michael.

  3. […] Master the Power of a Handwritten Note: Part 1, I talked mainly about the importance of writing personal thank you notes to people in the industry […]

  4. Great advice. I remember reading that Lady Diana kept cards with her, and, after she met someone, she immediately wrote and mailed a card telling them how much she enjoyed meeting them. I’m guessing that’s one of the reasons she was so popular.

    • mjr89 says:

      Certainly, David. The trick is also to bring up something specific you spoke about when you met the person. Show him or her that you genuinely were interested in their viewpoint on whatever the topic of conversation was. This will take the “thank you” to a whole other level.

  5. […] with someone you met, be sure to send them a polite follow-up email the next day. A personalized handwritten note might blow that person away. In your message, it is a good idea to mention a few of the things you […]

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