When I was a senior in high school and preparing to graduate, my Martha Stewart-esque aunt took me to a Crane & Co. store, knowing we shared a rare affinity for letter writing and obsession with papers. We touched every texture available and finally settled on an eggshell paper with matching envelopes and small calling cards to go with it and labored for two hours over a font selection. It was critical that we got this graduation gift just right as a large box of Crane & Co. paper with my name engraved on it would last me for years. I still have the copper plate with my maiden name in luxurious cursive, and the boxes with some of the engraved paper remains on my shelves at home.
If someone like me who is in front of a computer for 18 hours a day still has an affinity for writing on paper, the art is not lost.
Relationship building on paper
Relationship building doesn’t have to be done by Twitter, a hand written note actually means more in an era where everything is depersonalized by spending ten seconds on a thank you email rather than a hand written note delicately thought out with a hand written signature.
If you’re part of a generation like mine who does not understand that there is etiquette to hand written notes (especially in business), or you have forgotten the art of putting pen to paper, Crane offers the “Blue Book” of correspondence etiquette. I used to have a copy and can’t locate it, so I may buy another, but it was very useful in refining my ability to properly format and connect in a more formal way for the types of consumers that expect such.
You may think no one expects this, that they’d rather tweet, but my aunt who carefully groomed me to care about the art would be more than offended if after a real estate transaction her Realtor did not hand write a courteous note.
Making the gesture
Consider getting back to paper for hand written thank you notes on quality paper that shows you care more deeply than the carpet cleaner who wrote “thanks, here’s a coupon” via email. Write letters not only to coworkers but your broker, a real estate leader you admire, an old mentor or even your spouse. Just see if you don’t get a positive response.
It is a kind gesture and knowing what is expected of you and from whom is helpful in a business where you don’t necessarily have teams of trainers on every topic, rather you fend for yourself. There are many other etiquette books out there, but Crane is the ultimate resource in my opinion (for obvious sentimental reasons).