Last week, I posted a tip about how writing a personal note could help you stand out from the crowd. In this time of prolific email, texting, and social media, few people take the time to write a hand-written note.

I keep a file called “Letters to Keep.” Whenever I get a hand-written professional card with a meaningful message, the letter goes in this file. I have cards and notes from past co-workers, students, mentees, people from my teams, and others. These messages light up my day. They mean a ton. So, of course, I keep them.
Over the years, my kids would claim I nagged them to write hand-written notes. Mostly because this is the right thing to do. Notes show appreciation, good manners, and ensure kids know how to actually write in long-hand. They weren’t encouraged to write these letters to stand out and be remembered, but this has already happened. My 18 year-old son had an internship last summer. He wrote thank you notes to everyone who helped him through his experience. I didn’t see or read his cards and had no idea of their content. These notes did have an impact. In fact, one recipient said he was so impressed that he kept the note.
Seems like many people have “Letters to Keep” files.
Yes, hand-written letters sent snail mail do make a real impact and help you stand out from the crowd.
In my initial post, I also asked others for their tips and best practices. Several added spins on the hand-written note, while there were other great unrelated tips too. I have a few more of my own tips too.
These tips aren’t required behaviors. They aren’t even expected. These tips will help you surprise people. Impress people. Delight people. These will prompt people to remember you, in both personal and professional situations. These tips will help you stand out from a crowd.
Here is a list of ten of those tips and best practices, not in any particular order.


  1. Write a hand-written note and send snail mail
  2. 2.

  3. Remember and use people’s names. People love to hear their own names
  4. 3.

  5. Give meaningful, detailed compliments
  6. 4.

  7. Catch people doing things right
  8. 5.

  9. Smile. A smile can really light up someone’s day
  10. 6.

  11. Always go above and beyond with your research (Andy De)
  12. 7.

  13. Send an anniversary card every year (whether personal or professional) (Brad Ledwidth)
  14. 8.

  15. Use video messages or personalized TouchNotes instead of text (Bruce Scheer and Brad Ledwidth)
  16. 9.

  17. Remember birthdays and send a physical birthday card (Alicia Ritter)
  18. 10.

  19. Recognize and thank significant others who support (and makes sacrifices for) those people who do something extraordinary (Eric Sanders)

Any other great tips that are missing? If you have another tip for standing out from the crowd, please add to the comments.
Initial Post: Letters To Keep