Why and How You Should Write Personal Messages
by Gene Griessman, Ph.D.
The famous historian Mel Kranzberg told me that he made it a habit to write 10 personal letters every day that he was in his office. That’s right, 10 letters every day.
Not that Mel Kranzberg had nothing better to do. He was editor of an important professional journal Technology and Culture for many years. He was a much-in-demand public speaker, he taught classes, and wrote articles and books, and he held a distinguished chair at Georgia Tech. Mel Kranzberg was the Callaway Professor of the History of Technology.
Yet this very busy and successful individual made time to send personal messages. What was the result? Mel Kranzberg had a world-wide network of friends. What’s more, those friends would do virtually anything he asked them to do. Here’s why.
When I made a trip to Japan, Kranzberg sent personal letters ahead of me to his friends in Japan. Those friends entertained me while I was there, and gave me an insider’s perspective of that amazing culture that I would never have gotten on my own.
On another occasion, I made a media appearance that Kranzberg thought was well done, and bought favorable recognition to Georgia Tech. What did Kranzberg do? He wrote a personal letter to the school president telling him what I had done, and how fortunate the school was in having me. Whether I deserved such praise or not is beside the point. Kranzberg had done something special for me.
When Mel died, there were literally hundreds, perhaps thousands, of individuals around the world who had been touched by his personal letters.
If Mel were alive today, I’m not sure if he would still send letter-letters. Probably so, because a personal letter is such a rare thing. He probably would send personal messages by email too.
But one thing’s certain, Mel Kranzberg would still make time to send personal messages.
On this point, here’s what the noted letter-writer and author Alexandra Stoddard had to say about personal letters:
“Letter writing is giving, which should mean, for the most part, pleasure. Letters should be natural. There is no editor at the reviewing end, no rejection slip, no fierce deadline. the rewards of writing a personal letter can be enormous and lasting…Letters are really conversations in which the writer is speaking, without interruption. Lettered thoughts are, in many ways, purer than spoken ones.”
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—Gene Griessman is an award-winning professional speaker, actor, and consultant. His video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. He has spoken at conventions all over the world. To learn more about his presentations, contact us at 404-435-2225 or [email protected] Learn more about Gene Griessman at presidentlincoln.com and atlantaspeakersbureau.com