There’s an old saying that opposites attract and that’s often true. There was a story in the local paper recently about the decline of greeting cards due to the increasing popularity and usage of electronic versions and social media.
Stats back up this trend. A U.S. Postal Service study which shows correspondence (like greeting cards) fell 24% between 2002 and 2010. Hallmark estimates the number of greeting cards sold in the U.S. has fallen by 20% in the past decade.
It’s certainly great to log onto Facebook on your birthday and read dozens of birthday wishes from friends and family (most of whom probably would not have mailed you a physical card). But, isn’t there something special about opening the mailbox to find an envelope with your name on it, written by hand? That’s a great example of the opposite (of the norm) having a positive effect.
The same principle applies to business or job searching. Most job applications are filed electronically and many of the larger companies have their own applicant tracking system in place. Conventional job search wisdom is to send a thank you following an interview. What if, instead of emailing that note, you mailed a physical thank you card and wrote your note by hand? Don’t you think it would stand out (in a positive way) in this ever-increasingly electronic age?
With business, when everyone sends an email, why not pick up the phone? Don’t forget the power of a sincere “thank you” in business – and to do something to make that thank you memorable. At the end of the day, if you want to stand out from the crowd, sometimes you zig when others zag. It may not always be true, but very often opposites do indeed attract.