When was the last time that you received a written correspondence from a family member, friend or business associate? I don’t mean a short email or text message but an actual honest to goodness letter. If you are like me, it has probably been months or even years since you last received one. I hadn’t thought much about the lack of written correspondence until I recently received a hand written letter from my friend Jeff. Jeff and I grew up in the same small town in Iowa and was rock hunting buddies from elementary school on into our early 20s when I finally moved to Colorado. In those days there were no computers or World Wide Web and long distance calls were expensive hand written letters was the primary choice for communication.
As time went by Jeff and I lost contact with each other and it was only recently that we reconnected. A few written correspondences ensued as we caught up on over 35 years of our lives. While we both have embraced the computer age, Jeff seems less inclined than I to type out a quick email or even quicker text message. I get emails with links to web sites that he has found interesting and wanted to share but not as much as a sentence on what has been happening in his life. That type of correspondence is reserved for the times he can sit down and compose a hand written letter. The last correspondence I received from Jeff was several pages long and was neatly tucked inside a cardboard box containing several rock specimens that Jeff felt I should add to my collection. I must confess, the box and letter are sitting next to my desk in the study and my intent was to write him back. But there it sits a constant reminder of what I’ve failed to do.
It is a lost art … the hand written letter. It takes more effort and time and there is no button you can click to check your spelling. Okay, you may be wondering, why type out a blog about it then. I’m writing about it because I think the skill to write concisely has been lost due to the advent of the typewriter and then computer. Seldom are kids required to handwrite anything in school. I don’t even think my teenage daughter would know what I was talking about if I mention the Blue Book. Do you? I know, it was a different time and technology has made such materials obsolete. But the skill to write well will never become obsolete. A well written correspondence can be the difference between getting an opportunity to meet with a prospective client or not.
I think it is important that our next generation of business people learn the art of writing. It seems their whole lives revolve around computers and cell phone, emails and texts. Maybe the school could introduce them to something as simple as a hand written daily journal when they enter their first year of school. If it is encouraged through the years they will not only have the skill to write but will also have insight into the adolescents when they reread the entries as adults.
Heck, I’d settle for my daughter sitting down and hand writing a thank you note when she receives a gift.
CEO, Employing Broker
Katchen Company, founded in 1962, is an integrated real estate company with its corporate headquarters in Lakewood, Colorado. The company offers real estate development, redevelopment, property management, brokerage, consulting services, construction oversight and maintenance services to individual and institutional real estate investors throughout the greater Denver metropolitan area in Denver with satellite offices in Chicago, Las Vegas and Miami market areas.