The Powerful Pen
A letter arrived in my mailbox earlier this month. It was from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Office of the Jury Commissioner. Normally, this would cause heart palpitations, but this letter was special.
It was handwritten.
In late December, I was called for jury duty. Although never convenient, I always look forward to the experience. The whole thing makes me feel American and patriotic and I choose to accept the responsibility with a positive attitude.
Similar to the previous times when I’ve been summoned, this was an extraordinary experience. Everyone from the court officer to the presiding judge demonstrated professionalism and courtesy beyond what would be expected. They show a video that gives a history and explanation of the judicial process. We are thanked for our time.
Then, we wait to see if we are needed.
Most often—including that day in December—cases are settled and no jury is actually seated. Still, it takes most of the morning and you can only sit there.
Finally, just before noon, a judge came in to let us know we were not needed.
However, instead of just releasing us, he gave a careful and thorough explanation of why we were not needed, how in fact our time was not wasted, and the importance of us being ready to serve. I don’t remember exactly, but I’ll bet it was close to 10 minutes before he was done speaking. No one seemed to mind and all appreciated him taking the time to tell us why he was taking our time.
My father was a great letter-writer. He wrote when he was angry with a store or company and he wrote when he was pleased. Heaven help those who received the wrath of John Harold Desmond Farquharson.
So, tapping into the spirit of my father, I wrote a letter to Pamela Wood, Jury Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I wanted her to know how impressive the entire experience was. I wanted her to be proud of her staff and how, despite the fact that they repeat the process five days a week, everything seemed fresh.
The letter I received that day was a handwritten thank you note from Pamela. She’d never received such a compliment and wanted me to know it was shared to the delight of everyone.
I am reminded of the power of the written word. A thank you note to a customer, or your CSR, your child, your coworker, your spouse. Your Jury Commissioner. Including a full explanation of how the order will be processed through the plant, who will do the work, and what it will mean to earn a customer’s business along with your next bid. A blog. A column. A sales tip.
Put it in writing and release the power of the pen.
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