Who writes by hand anymore? Business owners, smart marketing managers, and customer service connoisseurs who want to create a personal connection with their customers.
Electronic communication has seemingly taken over our lives with emails and text messages on keyboards and touch screens. It's a big reason why handwriting has become kind of a lost art, with cursive penmanship fighting to remain relevant in school curricula.
As a result, the handwritten note is considered a treasured gem. So, regardless of what's popular in our modern-day culture, here's why you should write more often.
Handwriting Promotes Memory Recall
Handwriting and typing spark different areas of your brain.
In a study published in Psychological Science, research shows that note taking by hand positively affects learning. Students that took notes by hand were more selective with the words they wrote than those keyboard users typing verbatim.
Students slowed down to consider what they were writing. As a result, the information was processed more accurately and they retained more of it than those who typed their notes. When using a keyboard, people tend to transcribe the information rather than cognitively process and interact with it.
As a smart marketer or business owner, it stands to reason that writing by hand from time to time will assist with your memory retention. Consider this scenario with your daily to-do list. There's scientific evidence from Norway's University of Stavanger that suggests if you write it out by hand, you're more likely to remember it.
Maybe you're taking notes at a business meeting or conference. If you write your notes by hand in a notebook or on any piece of paper, you're more likely to remember them. Note taking combats forgetfulness by providing a future reference point.
Handwriting Improves Your Thought Process
If you want to think more clearly, write it down. Kenneth Kiewra, educational psychologist at the University of Nebraska, says his written notes capture his thinking better than typing.
When you take notes by hand, you'll typically take fewer notes, but you'll think more about what you're writing. As a result, you'll digest more of the information.
When you're learning to write, your brain has to do three things:
- Locate each stroke of the pen (or pencil) and figure out how it relates to the other strokes.
- Learn (and remember) the size, slants, and characteristics of each letter.
- Establish categorization skills.
It helps to begin this learning process early in life.
According to Zaner-Bloser, renowned publishers of research-based handwriting programs for children, good handwriting helps students shine. There's a connection between handwriting and literacy.
- Writing by hand sets the brain in motion to learn, activating the reading circuits.
- High-quality handwriting is associated with more brain cells and the ability to better process the sound of speech.
- Helping preschoolers improve their handwriting may be useful in developing long-term academic skills.
In business, you need to be thinking clearly. Consider weaving some handwriting into your everyday activities.
For example, if you're trying to come up with new advertising copy or blog topics, brainstorm with a notebook and pen—or a white board and marker. Perhaps a great idea pops into your head for a new product or marketing plan. You can write down that idea in the middle of a blank page and then branch out with a list of headlines or topics.
Writing by hand gives you a fresh outlook on the work you do everyday.
Handwriting Helps With Solving Problems
If you're trying to come up with the solution to a problem, try writing it down. This helps you get a better handle on what you're dealing with.
As you research a solution, write down your findings. When you're brainstorming, write down everything. Then, as you incorporate writing into your problem solving, you'll improve your ability to solve the problem.
Consider the popular, long-time method of problem solving by listing positives and negatives in two rows on a sheet of paper. This mental exercise encourages objective decision making, so you're less inclined to "go with your gut." At the end of the day, your answer lies on the side with more reasons to react.
Handwriting Helps With Setting (and Reaching) Goals
When you're setting goals for your business, try writing them down on paper rather than tapping them into a computer.
Writer, editor, publisher, and handwriting aficionado Nancy Olson uses her favorite fountain pen to write down goals for herself. Seeing the goals in front of her, in her own handwriting, has always made them more real, and more important. As a result, she's able to accomplish more of what she set out to do.
Researcher Jordan Peterson, a professor of psychology at the University of Toronto and author of the bestselling book "12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos," says writing is a formalized mode of thinking. He believes it helps people pull information out of their experiences, which guides their awareness, actions, and thoughts, among other things. Ultimately, it leads to helping you accomplish important goals, as you define your future purpose and meaning.
Handwriting Affects Creativity
Handwriting could affect your creative thoughts. In the relationship between the mind and body, a Stanford University study says creativity gets a boost from fluid arm movements, like handwriting. While the study doesn't reference handwriting in particular, it stands to reason that there's a creative connection.
Also, consider the speed of typing vs. writing. For most people, typing goes a lot faster, especially if they're trained to type properly. With writing, however, instead of a single keystroke, each letter requires multiple strokes. By spending more time on each letter and word, your brain has more of an opportunity to process what you're writing. In essence, you're giving yourself more time for creative ideas to percolate.
Handwriting is an Expression of Personality
Your handwriting reveals something about you. When someone reads what you've written on paper, they look at all the nuances of your work. The relationship between you, your writing instrument, and the page tell a story.
According to graphologists, the way you create letters and words can express over 5,000 personality traits. For instance, if your writing slants to the right, you're more social and open to new ideas. If it slants to the left, you're more of a loner. If it doesn't slant at all, you're probably more rational and sensible.
There's also analyses for the size of your letters, the loops, the way you write the letter "s" and more.
Handwriting Helps You Stay Sharp as You Age
As you age, your brain's cognitive abilities (specifically memory), have a natural tendency to decline. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this is normal. To combat it, write more often.
According to the popular science journal Neurology, more frequent cognitive activity throughout your life leads to slower late-life cognitive decline. In other words, if you want to remember where you left something when you're older (like your keys or reading glasses), start writing today.
Combining Handwriting with Digital Communication
In his 2015 TEDx talk "Why write? Penmanship for the 21st Century," Master Penman Jake Weidmann advises that we stop putting technology and handwriting in opposing corners. He said we need to be good stewards of both.
Even modern technology, like tablet computers, haven't completely abandoned the capabilities of the written word. Or, at least the art of using an electronic pen/pencil.
Microsoft's series of Surface computers features the Surface Pen, a natural writing and drawing tool with precision "ink" on one end and a rubber eraser on the other. The pen uses Bluetooth technology with over 4,000 pressure points to write and draw. You can rest your hand on the screen, just as you would if you were writing in a notebook, to draw fine lines and sketches.
Also, Apple offers the Apple Pencil for their iPad and iPad Pro tablet computers. The wireless (also Bluetooth-enabled) stylus allows users to take notes, draw sketches, mark up documents, and more.
Digitally Handwritten Business Notes: The Best of Both Worlds
So you're sold on the idea of business handwriting. Of course, you're not going to trade your desktop, laptop, and smartphone for a new pen and start writing everything by hand beginning today. But you're going to give this a go, taking notes at meetings by hand, setting some business goals on paper, and so forth.
When it comes to handwritten business notes, you can try doing it all by hand, or you can be realistic. If you're faced with penning hundreds or even thousands of letters for a direct mail marketing campaign, consider an alternative: digital handwriting. This gives you the best of both worlds: the personal touch of a handwritten message with the speed of automation.
With Simply Written, business handwriting is ... simple. Our patented technology mimics the natural variations of real handwriting, so you can effectively and easily create connections that last a lifetime.