Donna Smaldone
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Wednesday / March 23 / 2011

The case for the handwritten note: become a better communicator

Grant and Donna at Grant’s May 2008 graduation from the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC

Anyone got a pen? …anyone?

I’m sure you remember the stylus. It wasn’t so long ago when everyone had a PDA or other gadget with said stylus. Now all you need to gain access to your friends, your network and the world is a working digit.

As archaic as the stylus now seems, I want step even further back into ancient times and explore the idea of picking up a pen. An actual pen. Not to add to your grocery list or jot a fierce note so it’s clear the brownies are for your daughter’s bake sale and not a family free-for-all. But to write a personal note. I’m not suggesting we go back to feathers, ink and calligraphy, but rather we return to the art of communication through personal, handwritten correspondence (she says as she types her blog… yeah, yeah… I get it. No snarky comments, please!)

Remember the last time you walked to your mailbox and got something besides junk or bills? I’m betting it was a birthday card, a thank you note or a thinking-about-you letter. And I’m betting your eyes lit up when you saw your name written in familiar penmanship. You felt connected. Even more, you felt cared about.

As a PR professional, a daughter, a mom, a friend… I believe there’s value in communicating via social media, emails, texts and so forth. But I’m also a big believer in putting pen to paper. Literally. What I’m suggesting here is not an “or” but rather an “and”.Just ask my son. Now 26, Grant can attest to the bevy of thank you notes, birthday cards and letters he’s penned over the years. Was it top of his To Do List? Certainly not. But would he admit (now, anyway) that it felt good to communicate on such a personal level? I dare say yes. Perhaps one day a handwritten thank you note will win him that prestigious law position, or a Hallmark card will win him his wife’s hand in marriage (hmmm…)

The take-away is, he’s a better communicator because of the time he takes putting pen to paper.

I love this pic of us at his May 2008 graduation from the University of South Carolina (…after which he had a lot of thank you notes to write!)

So on your next walk to the mailbox… indulge me. Put the red flag up.

6 responses to “The case for the handwritten note: become a better communicator”

  1. Julie says:

    My favorite letters that come in my mailbox have very familiar handwriting with swirly swirls and stickers…. Jacqueline even knows who those are from!! 🙂 Love you!! ~Julie

  2. Debbie says:

    Lainey loves getting mail from you too… she KNOWS it’s from Aunt Donna as soon as she sees the envelope decor too.
    And we still do hand-written Thank You notes too. 🙂

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Thank you, Sissy! I adore my Toots (…like the lollipop, as Lains would clarify!) I smile as I put my red flag up, just envisioning the smile that will take Lainey’s face hostage! …and I love writing notes on the homemade notecards my talented Sissy created for me! xo

  3. DeRonda says:

    Though fewer in past yrs as it becomes more difficult, I love opening my mailbox to find a handwritten letter from my my 96 year old grandmother. I may have to ‘decipher’ a word here or there, but knowing & loving her the way I do…they mean all the more knowing the effort it must take her.
    (When I write back, I use the computer to increase the font size, easier for her to read w/ her macular degeneration, but will always ‘hand’ sign it…)
    Gram is sharp as a tack but keeps it ‘old school’. She’s come far enough to let the fam get her satellite to watch her beloved Golf, & will occasionally watch “one of those dvd things” if it’s ‘The Waltons’ or ‘Little House’… :o)

    btw; ♥ the blog Donna! Great job.

  4. Donna Smaldone says:

    That is SO precious, De! My Grandma has since passed, but lived to 93. I still have those handwritten notes from her and love, love, love them and will treasure them always. (and thanks for the compliment about the blog, friend!)

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