At last weekís staff meeting at Emily Post, holiday greeting cards were on the agenda. Each year inevitably someone asks about e-cards as opposed to traditional mailed cards.
Equally inevitably, we determine that for Emily Post traditional cards are the right choice. The biggest argument in favor of an e-card is ecologicalóno trees used and no carbon footprint in the delivery. Good reasons for sure, but somehow a virtual holiday card doesnít have the presence of a traditional one. Literally, when we see the cards displayed in the office, each of those clients, vendors and friends is called to mind.
We like the tactile feel of a mailed card. While itís true that an emailed card can be printed and put out in a reception area for all to enjoy, a message and image printed on twenty pound copier paper just doesnít have the same feel as a traditional card. Besides, if your main reason for choosing an e-card is to be green, printing out the card sort of defeats the purpose. We also appreciate receiving mail thatís not junk mail or a bill. It makes going to the mailbox a pleasure rather than a chore.
That said, e-cards are here to stay and companies are electing to go with them. Better that than sending no card at all. The following tips that apply to traditional cards also apply to e-cards.
- Be careful in building your list, and make sure your contacts are current. Ask yourself if each person is still a valued client, prospect, supplier, or friend of the company.
- Check your addresses carefully. While youíve done your due diligence throughout the year in maintaining your database, this is a good time to double check it for accuracy.
- If youíre asked to provide names of those you want the company to send a card, be sure to get the names and pertinent information to the organizer as soon as possible. That personís job is difficult enough without having to repeatedly remind people to submit their lists.
- Holiday cards are an opportunity to reach out to people associated with your business. They are a friendly, relationship building gesture. They arenít a vehicle for selling products and services so keep marketing and sales messages out of them.
- The people you are sending cards to may well come from different ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds. Be careful of including a message that contain a religious overtone.
You may find yourself wanting to send cards individually to business colleagues. In that case consider the following:
Make your list first. If itís a large list, ask yourself if you have the budget to send the cards yourself and if you have the time to do the work of sending them.
If you are sending cards to colleagues at work, send them to their home, especially if you arenít sending them to everyone. By sending them to the homes you avoid any hard feelings of people you havenít sent them to.
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Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is a partner and the general manager of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.