Recently, I posted 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.      Remember and use people’s names. People love to hear their own names

3.      Give meaningful, detailed compliments

4.      Catch people doing things right

5.      Smile. A smile can really light up someone’s day

6.      Always go above and beyond with your research (Andy De)

7.      Send an anniversary card every year (whether personal or professional)

8.      Use video messages or personalized TouchNotes instead of text

9.      Remember birthdays and send a physical birthday card

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

Initial Post: Letters To Keep


  • Kelly Breslin Wright

    Board Director at Fastly, Lucid, Amperity, and Even. Instructor, UW Foster. Former EVP Sales, Tableau.

    Kelly is a Board Director at Fastly (NYSE : FSLY), Lucid, Amperity, and Even. She teaches Go-To-Market Strategy at the University of Washington's Foster School of Business. She also advises companies and is active in multiple organizations focused on promoting women on corporate boards. Kelly recently retired from her operational role at Tableau Software after 12 years. She joined Tableau as the company's tenth employee and first salesperson and helped grow Tableau into a multi-billion dollar public company as a key member of the executive team. She grew Tableau's worldwide sales and field operations from zero to $850m in revenue and managed over half of the global team as the company grew to 3400 employees. Kelly speaks and writes regularly on topics including sales, culture, high performance teams, operational excellence, diversity, scaling, and women in leadership.