Letter Writing in Tough Economic Times: Creating a Personal Network

We all know the old adage that says "birds of a feather stick together." While it may sound a bit cliche, research shows that there is in fact value in surrounding yourself with positive, successful, happy people. When you surround yourself with people and things that inspire you and make you happy, you will be more likely to find strategies to help you live the life you want to live. When you spend time with people who you don’t aspire to be like, who you don’t respect, or who make you feel bad about yourself, you will likely feel less empowered, and not at all inspired, to make good things happen for yourself. Think about it…reaching out to people that you admire just might provide you with a better job opportunity, some solid advice, or even just a new network of positive friends.

Sounds good…but where do you go from here? It can be a bit intimidating to randomly reach out to a casual acquaintance just to say "hello," and it’s definitely tough to blatantly ask for help or advice. Writing a friendly, hand-written note can be much less daunting than picking up the phone. A hand-written note also displays a certain level of respect because it takes more time and thought than sending a quick email. Maybe most importantly, a letter can actually make you more approachable and a lot more memorable. Receiving a letter in the mail is less intrusive to the recipient because they can read it, put some thought into it, and get back to you in their own time. A letter is also special in that it is something more permanent than a phone call or email. It’s easy to forget to return a voicemail or absently delete an email; it’s a lot harder to ignore that beautiful, hand-written letter sitting on your desk!

Some suggestions for opening the lines of communication are: Just saying hello; inviting the person for dinner or a drink; sharing a story or discussing a topic the two of you have in common; or including an article you think the person might be interested in.


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