Friday, April 15, 2011

Greeting Card Etiquette

One of my very favorite quotes from Maya Angelou is:

"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."        

I think sending a real paper card is one of the nicest little tokens of appreciation we can give someone these days. I know when I open my mailbox, I'm excited when I find something personal, like a card.   I smile and I usually keep that card to remind me of that person especially if it was a genuine heartfelt personal card.

I find that society has become more and more dependent on computers and that the art of sending a real paper card is fading away.  However, there is a wonderful company that has found a way to use technology to send real paper greeting cards.

This is the time of year when there are a lot of occasions and events that we may find ourselves sending or receiving greeting cards, such as graduations, showers, weddings, etc.    

Like all forms of social communication, greeting cards come with their own set of established etiquette rules. Close friends and family members love to receive greeting cards from you regardless of whether or not you follow etiquette guidelines perfectly, but business colleagues and other influential contacts you'd like to impress will certainly have a more discerning eye. And typically more formal invitations, such as wedding invitations are more scrutinized and I have listed some basic guidelines at the end of this post.

Here are some general guidelines for sending greeting cards:

·       Put some forethought into your card selection Your card should match the style and intent of the communication.  This will ensure the greeting card indicates your warm wishes were given some forethought.
·       Let your envelope set the stage.  Since the envelope is the first thing recipient sees, you want to ensure that it is addressed properly and the information is correct.  If you are addressing formal cards for weddings, etc.,      this is one place that Ladies are not always first, unless they outrank the man of the house.  (Refer to handout).
·       Plan ahead.   Allow plenty of time for your greeting to arrive.  For a casual invitation, it needs to arrive at least ten day to two weeks in advance.  For more formal/wedding invitations, 4 to 8 weeks is the guideline.
·       Add extra special touches. Although formal greetings for colleagues and clients should be more friendly than heartfelt, personal greeting cards for close friends and family members deserve an extra special touch. Writing and creating custom cards with a personal message, or including a gift makes your greeting card more memorable.

And if you are Sending greeting cards, then you are probably also sending Thank you cards.  I think one of best things we can teach our children is the importance of writing thank you cards and the proper way to Write thank you cards.   

Tips for Thank You Notes:

·       Be timely – Write and mail your thank you notes immediately or as soon after the event or receipt of the gift as possible.   Sending notes weeks and months after the occasion or event loses sincerity.
o     If you are late in sending your greeting card, try to make up for it by putting extra thought into your personal note.    

·       Mean it when you say thank you!  People get it when you genuinely mean something and also when you are just going through the motions.
·       Keep it Short - Only one or two sentences at the most. Anymore than that and you are running the risk that it will not be read at all.

·       Be specific about what you are thanking people for.  Sometimes it means even more when people know what they are being thanked for e.g. ‘Thanks so much John for the book on resume writing.  I will certainly put it to good use.’  Or 'Thank you so much for the coffee pot with the timer.  You know how we LOVE our coffee.'  It makes the whole exchange richer and more meaningful than just a casual generic “thanks."
·       Smile - Smile while you are writing the note because it will put a positive slant on your words and your happiness and enthusiasm will be conveyed to the reader.

·       Post It - Always use the traditional mailing method for your thank you notes. There is more of a chance that they will remember your note if it is delivered in an envelope, more so than they would if it is just another email on a long list of emails that may not be received or read.

The most beautiful thing about truly thanking someone is that it creates a deeper and instant bond between people.

In 1922 Emily Post wrote, "In writing notes or letters, as in all other forms of social observance, the highest achievement is in giving the appearance of simplicity and naturalness."

My interpretation of that statement is, it is better to write a simple note and mail it in a timely manner, rather than get hung up on what is proper etiquette or not.

Quoting Lydia Ramsey, business etiquette expert  It’s not about the Rules, it’s about the relationships.

Such a small gesture of appreciation and gratitude should be a habit in everyone's personal and business life.  

Rules for addressing Envelopes for Business,
Formal Communication and Invitations:

·         Always write titles on the envelope. The card or invitation goes to "Mr. John Smith," not "John Smith." It is addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. John Smith," instead of "John and Mary Smith."

·         When addressing a couple, use titles, rather than professional initials.  It’s “Dr. and Mrs. John Smith,” not John Smith, M.D. and Mrs. Smith.”

·         If both the husband and the wife are doctors, you write, "The Doctors Smith." However, if they use different last names, address the envelope to "Dr. John Smith and Dr. Mary Brown." The husband's name is placed first.

·         If the wife is a doctor and the husband is not, send the invitation to "Mr. John Smith and Dr. Mary Smith."

·         Try to get it all on one line. When the husband has an unusually long name, the wife's title and name are indented and written on the second line:

The Honorable Jonathon Richardson Staniskowsky and
    Mrs. Staniskowsky

·         When a couple is not married and share a mutual address, their names are written on separate lines alphabetically and not connected by the word "and."

Ms. Mary Brown
Mr. John Smith
·         When sending to a married woman who uses her maiden name at work, address the cards to “Mr. and Mrs. John Smith.” If she prefers to use her maiden name for all occasions, work and social, address the card to “Mr. John Smith and Ms. Susan Jones.”
·         When the woman outranks her husband, her name is written first. It's "Major Mary Smith and Lieutenant John Smith."
 Note: The man's name is always written first unless the wife outranks him or if the couple is unmarried and her last name precedes his alphabetically. So much for "Ladies first."

The above information from

Happy Card Sending,
Painted Lady Enterprises
"Helping You and Your Business Look Good"


blogger templates 3 columns | Make Money Online