Is it better to write a letter or an email?
The question of whether to use letters or e-mails when communicating with others is one that gets asked regularly by many individuals and businesses alike. The answer varies depending on who's asking—or what they want from your response. Some prefer writing letters because it allows them more freedom in their choice of words while still having something tangible for someone else (e.g., photos). Others feel letters convey emotion better than electronic communications like emails do. But why exactly would this be true? And does using emails mean missing out on important details? Let's take a look into some reasons behind each side's preference and see if there aren't other ways to get our point across without worrying about formality!
Which is better letters or emails?
Many companies prefer sending letters as opposed to emails due to several reasons. First off, most business owners have enough time to compose a good correspondence. Emails are generally short bursts of text where business owners may not always think through all the nuances they might want to include. Letters allow them space in which to craft thoughtful messages. Also, most businesses find themselves struggling to keep up with a huge number of incoming work requests via emails. They would rather spend the extra time required to respond to every single inquiry personally instead of trying to reply to hundreds of emails at once. It also gives employees more flexibility in terms of scheduling meetings since they know they'll receive a personal note whenever they contact said company.
On top of that, studies show that people tend to remember information longer after receiving a hand written communication compared to an online message. According to a study published in Computers in Human Behavior, participants were shown pictures of either a computer screen or a piece of paper. After being shown both options, researchers found that participants remembered significantly less detail from the images seen on the computer screen. While this could simply come down to familiarity and comfortability with computers, another reason has to do with attention spans. People naturally focus on things that interest them the most, so if an image doesn't grab their immediate attention immediately, then they won't retain much information about it afterwards. However, if they received an unexpected missive in the mail, they'd likely read it right away and pay closer attention to whatever was inside.
Another plus to letters is that they don't disappear into cyberspace just yet. For those living outside of major cities, getting snail mail is almost always faster than checking Gmail. Emailing feels instantaneous but takes too long for quick questions and responses. If you live near friends or family members, or even if you've got a small town nearby, it makes sense to pick up the phone and call them instead of sending an email. Handwritten notes can be easily lost in piles of digital junk, making them harder to track down later. There are plenty of apps available to organize your physical mailbox, though.
Why are handwritten letters better than email?
While many folks will argue that handwritten notes are superior to any kind of digital correspondence, there are numerous benefits to handwriting. Firstly, it shows consideration towards the receiver. When someone writes a lengthy email, they assume whoever is reading it cares little about its content. In contrast, when someone hands them a simple hand-written card or note saying "I thought of you today," they realize they actually care deeply about the person giving it to them. Secondly, handwriten letters give writers more room to express emotions. We humans generally feel stronger emotional connections with people whom we interact face-to-face. As such, it's easier to build deeper relationships by exchanging letters or notes. Finally, it helps maintain continuity. Since letters are typically sent by post, they remain in one place until they reach their destination. If you wrote a handwritten note, however, you run the risk of misplacing it somewhere before it reaches the intended recipient. Even if you didn't lose it along the way, it's hard to trace it back once it was thrown away.
If you're wondering why anyone would choose e-mail over handwritten correspondence, here are a few points worth considering. E-mails are easy to forward and print, meaning you can share copies with others. You can also attach files to your correspondences and access them wherever you have internet access. Many people nowadays rely heavily on smartphones to stay connected. With so many different types of devices now capable of accessing the web, it's becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between e-mails and texts. Texts can only be viewed on phones, whereas e-mails can be read on desktop PCs, tablets, laptops, etc. Lastly, e-mails can usually go directly to recipients' spam folders unless filters are set correctly. That means you'll never really know if your message reached the intended party. On the contrary, handwritten letters require special postage and thus cost money. Plus, they're easier to spot in spam folders as well.
So yes, sometimes it's best to stick with traditional forms of communication. Other times, technology reigns supreme. If you're looking for a middle ground, try sending both kinds of correspondence. Just bear in mind the following tips:
Keep it brief. Don't waste precious minutes typing endless paragraphs of text. Instead, break larger tasks into smaller chunks. Get to the point quickly.
Be polite. Maintain basic politeness etiquette no matter what method of communication you chose. Be respectful of everyone involved and avoid rude language.
Use appropriate tone. Try to match your voice to the type of message you're conveying. Use formal language when talking to colleagues, casual wording when chatting with acquaintances, and friendly tones when speaking to loved ones.
Write clearly. Make sure your grammar and spelling are impeccable. Read through the entire thing first to ensure clarity.
Don't forget anything! Always double check everything including dates and names before hitting Send!
What is the difference between email and a letter?
It's pretty obvious that letters and emails differ greatly. So what exactly sets them apart? One big distinction is length. Most letters are shorter than average emails. Generally speaking, emails are limited to around 200 characters while letters range anywhere from 500 to 2,000 characters. Another key difference is that emails are meant for distribution among multiple parties while letters are tailored specifically for individual receivers. Emails are often used to communicate general ideas or instructions while letters are designed to deliver specific answers to detailed inquiries. Additionally, letters are addressed to specific recipients while emails are generally open to anyone upon receipt. Lastly, letters are kept forever while emails are deleted automatically unless marked otherwise.
There are two main advantages to using emails instead of letters. First off, emails are convenient. Sending a letter requires planning ahead, paying for stamps, and waiting for packages. Once you hit Send, there's nothing left except hoping the letter arrived intact. Second, emails are accessible everywhere. Anyone with internet access can view them regardless of location. Of course, this comes with the downside of potentially losing sensitive data, especially if you happen to store your inboxes locally.
Lastly, emails are subject to the whims of nature. Because they're transmitted electronically, they can travel instantly from sender to receiver. Sometimes, there's a delay caused by server overload or slow Internet service providers. That isn't necessarily the case with letters. Depending on postal services, letters can take days to arrive weeks after they're sent.
In conclusion, it ultimately boils down to choosing whichever medium suits your own style the best. Ultimately, deciding what works best for your situation depends largely on who you're trying to reach. A professional, for example, wouldn't benefit nearly as much from a handwritten card as they would a heartfelt letter explaining their resignation. Likewise, a college student probably shouldn't expect their professor to respond to a late night text message as well as they would to a personalized thank-you gift. Take a moment to consider who you're targeting before moving onto the next step. Then decide whether it's best to send emails or letters accordingly.
And if you're curious about organizing your physical mailbox properly, check out Postcrosser.com. Using this website, you can create virtual bins called Pods for sorting your mails based on criteria. Each Pod contains a set amount of letters, allowing users to sort their mail according to size. Users can also assign labels to certain letters to further categorize them. For instance, you could label all outgoing mail red and all incoming mail blue. By doing so, you'll be able to tell which boxes contain bills and which hold mail orders quicker. All in all, it's a great tool for keeping organized.
There's no question that most of us today prefer electronic communication over paper-based methods like faxes and snail mail. But when working with larger groups -- for example, if hundreds of employees have to receive updates about layoffs in their department -- there may still come times when we feel compelled to send out a hand written note instead. The good news is that whether you choose to type up your correspondence using email or pen & paper, both options will get the job done well. In fact, they each offer different benefits depending upon what exactly needs to happen next after you hit "send." Let's take a look at why writing a letter versus sending an email makes sense sometimes (and other times not so much).
Why are handwritten notes special?
Whether you've been practicing handwriting since grade school or are just learning the basics yourself, chances are you'll agree that something about handwritten words has greater value than typed ones. Even though many of us don't actually remember our cursive skills anymore, we all know this feeling instinctively: looking down at a piece of paper filled with text can really slow things down.
In addition to being easier to read than computer printouts, another reason we appreciate handwritten communications is because they seem personal. We tend to trust them more, which means that even if someone else could easily intercept the message along its journey from sender to receiver, he or she would have trouble doing anything nefarious without us knowing about it. That said, I'd never recommend taking this approach as a way of securing sensitive information! Instead, consider it useful only for messages where you want to convey emotion or who aren't part of any official record.
Another advantage of handwritten notes is that they can usually travel faster than e-mails. The U.S Post Office offers free postage online, but some services charge extra for shipping via First Class Mail (which includes normal envelops) rather than Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxed Kit. If you use USPS' service, here's how it breaks down:
Standard Letter - $0.85/lb ($1.17 by postcard); Standard Airmail Envelope - $1.33/lb ($2 by postcard); Express Airmail Saver Package - $3.00/lb ($4 by postcard); Overnight Airmail Confirmation Package - $9.50/lb ($13 by postcard); Parcel Select - $22.60/lb ($31.20 by postcard); Parcel Select Plus - $25.10/lb ($36.40 by postcard); Global Expedited International - $35.90/lb ($52.80 by postcard); 1st class international flat rate box kit - $43.70/lb ($67.30 by postcard)
If you ever find yourself wondering why one option seems cheaper than others, keep this chart handy.
Is a letter or email more formal?
Letters vs. Emails: When Formality Matters | Harvard Business Review
Sometimes deciding whether to send a letter or an email comes down to figuring out how formal your situation is. For instance, you might think that if you were applying for a position with a company then a straightforward email would suffice, whereas if you were exchanging ideas with coworkers then a simple letter would do the trick. However, before making such judgments, it helps to understand your relationship to the recipient(s), especially if you haven't worked together before.
For starters, let's assume you're contacting someone new within your organization. You might decide to reach out by phone first, followed by either a short followup email or a letter. Although it doesn't matter which method you choose, the person receiving your contact request probably wouldn't expect to hear back from you right away unless you had something important to share. So if you're trying to establish rapport, it's best to opt for the slower route by mailing a letter. On the flip side, if you already work closely with that individual, you can save time by skipping the call altogether and going straight to the easy medium of email. Either way, once you've made this decision you can proceed based solely on whatever feels appropriate given the circumstances.
You also shouldn't forget that there isn't necessarily a hard-and-fast rule dictating which format works best for every scenario. As a general guideline, however, I typically advise clients to stick to one of three categories when considering whether to send a letter or an email:
Low level of formality: For informal situations like catching up with friends, sharing photos, asking questions, etc., I favor quick, friendly exchanges through email. It's always nice to see an actual address on the bottom of a message, but if you're worried about privacy issues, it's wise to avoid doing business over email in cases like selling products or discussing confidential topics.
Medium level of formality: Most types of professional interactions fall into this category. Whether you're talking to colleagues, vendors, customers, or prospective hires, it's smart to go beyond casual conversations and start engaging in meaningful discussions. Then again, you may simply want to communicate specific instructions regarding a project or task, so you might opt for a standard cover letter style letter addressed to "Dear [Name]," assuming your boss hasn't taken issue with you addressing him directly.
High level of formality: At higher levels of management, including CEOs and CFOs, for instance, it pays to stand behind your words. Emailing is generally preferred for communicating serious concerns or offering advice, while letters allow for more detail and nuance. Again, though, it's worth keeping in mind that high-level executives may have set expectations around the ways in which they wish to be communicated with. So if possible, try to anticipate those scenarios ahead of time.
Are emails less formal than letters?
A common misconception is that emails are somehow inherently less formal than letters. While it certainly used to be true, nowadays the opposite is mostly accurate. After the widespread adoption of smartphones, tablets, and computers, fewer companies still require staff members to carry around heavy stacks of paperwork in order to stay connected. Nowadays, everyone carries devices capable of handling almost everything imaginable, including documents, presentations, spreadsheets, music files, photographs, videos, contacts, tasks, and more. And thanks to cloud storage providers, we can access virtually everything from anywhere. No wonder why so few people care about old fashioned stationery.
However, that doesn't mean that emails are completely interchangeable with letters. There is indeed one area where they differ significantly: spelling mistakes. Many of us believe that it's acceptable to misspell certain terms intentionally, provided that we immediately correct ourselves. By contrast, typos in letters represent unforgivable lapses in judgment. Therefore, whenever possible, double check your wording before hitting "Send" to ensure accuracy.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with occasionally slipping up when typing a response. Just bear in mind that in most instances, it won't reflect very favorably on your professionalism.
What is difference between email and formal letter?
To summarize, here are four key differences between letters and emails: speed, formality, tone, and context. Knowing these distinctions can help you to determine which mode of communication is suitable for different occasions. Of course, it goes without saying that choosing the right tool for the job is essential. Otherwise, you run the risk of wasting valuable time by attempting to complete a task that requires a more effective device. Here are two examples highlighting potential problems when using the wrong choice:
Emails vs. Letters: Don't Mix Them Up | Harvard Business Review
First, imagine that you're tasked with reviewing a list of applicants for a particular role. Your manager asks you to assess each candidate's suitability for future employment opportunities, so you draft her a personalized email outlining your thoughts. Since you've spent enough time crafting each sentence carefully, you end up spending far too long composing and proofreading the final product. Next thing you know, you realize you've forgotten to attach a document containing relevant background details for each applicant. Not wanting to waste precious minutes hunting for the file later, you toss aside the letter and fire off an automatic reply email reminding everyone to include attachments. Unfortunately, your boss receives dozens of responses in his inbox, none of which contain the requested documentation. He calls you in for a meeting, during which he expresses frustration at having wasted countless hours due to your mistake.
Next, suppose you're sent a lengthy memo from upper management summarizing changes that are coming to the team. Rather than reading the entire document, you skim through it quickly to catch the highlights. You then forward the summary to your teammates, leaving out several paragraphs describing critical aspects of the plan. One day, your boss reads a detailed account of the update posted publicly on social media. He discovers that you omitted vital details and assumes incorrectly that you didn't pass on the news to anyone. To add insult to injury, you tell him that there was no point in forwarding the full version since most people weren't interested anyway. In light of this experience, your boss decides to hold weekly meetings to discuss upcoming projects with his subordinates rather than relying on memos alone.
Although these stories may sound extreme, they highlight significant pitfalls associated with poor communication practices. With proper planning and preparation, you can avoid similar mishaps.
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.
In our digital age, most people have become accustomed to using electronic communication methods for both personal and business correspondence. Email has been around since 1973 as a way for computer users to exchange messages with each other. In fact, some argue that email was invented before computers! However, many still prefer sending letters by mail. It's not hard to see why – there's something about receiving a hand-written note in the mailbox that makes us feel good. But why do so few use this tried and true method today? Is it because they don't know any different? Or maybe their reasons are more nuanced?
The answer lies somewhere between all of those options. The truth is that if your intention is to reach the largest number of people possible, then emailing may be best. Letters will get lost among thousands of inboxes every day. On the other hand, if your goal is to connect one-on-one with specific individuals, then sending a letter might be superior. Let's take a look at several important points to consider when deciding which form of communication works best for you.
Should emails be written like letters?
If you want to communicate effectively across distances, then yes, I'd say that it helps to think in terms of "writing" rather than typing. If you've ever read a letter from someone who used cursive handwriting (or even printed), you'll notice that sentences flow together nicely without looking awkward or jumbled up. That said, if your style is less formal, then you probably won't miss out on much by using regular old plain text formatting instead. For example, in my experience, people tend to respond better to emails that contain short bullet lists than long paragraphs.
As far as grammar goes, that really comes down to what feels comfortable to you. There isn't necessarily anything wrong with either approach. You just have to decide whether you care enough to pay attention to detail. Personally, I find reading emails tends to leave me feeling more tired after work while reading longer documents gives me more energy. So I'm happy to let go of minor grammatical errors here and there when communicating digitally but am always critical of spelling mistakes and poor punctuation.
Email vs. Letter -- Which One Should You Use When Sending Emails? | GetResponse
Andrea Perbellini is cofounder & CEO @ ResponseLab. He loves answering questions on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.
\tImage adapted from Galushko Sergey (Shutterstock).
\tWant to learn more about email marketing strategies? Here are five essential tips for building trust through email marketing.
Why is writing a letter better than email?
\tPeople love getting physical things in the mail. They also appreciate getting something tangible as opposed to simply hearing words via phone call or email. People generally enjoy having time dedicated to them personally. A lot of times, especially during busy days, the only opportunity to talk to someone face-to-face is when working directly with clients. Even though technology has made life easier in many ways, nothing beats sitting down with someone to discuss ideas or concerns.
One of the biggest differences between email and letters is that people expect responses within 24 hours or sooner. With an email, sometimes people forget, lose interest, or put off responding until later - sometimes never. With a letter, you're making a commitment to deliver a response by a certain date. Also, if you happen to receive a letter in the post office, you can keep it handy for future reference. Just imagine opening a letter in the morning and finding a coupon inside. How cool would that be?! And finally, with a letter, you're guaranteed delivery. No matter where you live, you can count on postal workers seeing your letter come through first thing in the morning.
So if you're trying to establish relationships and build lasting connections, then sending a letter might be ideal.
Why are handwritten letters better?
\tHandwriting opens doors beyond the page. Handwriting allows for deeper conversations, sharing stories, feelings, memories and emotions that cannot otherwise occur via a typed message. Writing by hand can bring back warm nostalgic feelings and provide comfort through its simplicity.
Writing by hand forces you to slow down. As soon as you pick up a pen, everything else stops. Your mind becomes focused solely on expression. While writing email, multitasking is almost inevitable. Typed messages require actionable thoughts that can be sent quickly, resulting in quick decision-making. Written letters give you time to think and ponder, allowing you to formulate thoughtful answers that truly reflect your opinion.
You must remember that everyone writes differently. Some people type faster than others, and even experts struggle with composing lengthy emails due to fatigue. We all have difficulty expressing ourselves correctly when typing. Writing by hand requires focus and patience. Because of this, written letters allow for greater creativity, originality, and depth that are difficult to achieve via text alone. Many studies suggest that written communications improve overall job performance, employee morale, customer satisfaction, and productivity.
For example, according to a study conducted by Harvard Business Review, handwritten notes increased sales conversion rates by 23 percent. Another research project found that customers were 55% happier with the service provided by companies whose employees wrote personalized thank-you cards compared to those who didn't.
A survey published by the American Association of Retired Persons showed that 76% preferred receiving handwritten notes over e-mails. What does this mean? More importantly, businesses benefit greatly from engaging with consumers through handwritten gestures. According to Forbes, 86% of millennials value handmade gifts above all else.
What are the advantages of handwritten letters over email?
\tIt takes time. Don't worry – that doesn't mean you should waste months upon end writing dozens of pages worth of content. All you need to do is spend 10 minutes taking extra care when creating your next email. Think carefully about your choice of wording, choose relevant images, add bulleted lists, and try to avoid multiple signatures. These simple actions will save you countless seconds and minutes. Once again, this shows how effective shorter forms of communication can be when time is limited.
\tDon't underestimate the power of brevity. Try to condense your main point into 8--12 key phrases and bullets. By doing so, you'll force yourself to concentrate on specifics while keeping the generalization of information. Remember to include details such as dates, names, and places whenever applicable.
Avoid repetitive language. Be careful not to repeat yourself too frequently. Choose unique phrases for each individual recipient. If you're unsure of what to write, ask a friend, colleague, or family member to fill in the gaps for you.
Keep track of deadlines. Make sure you follow company policies regarding timeliness, such as the amount of time required to complete the task. Set aside blocks of time specifically for tasks that require urgent completion.
Be consistent. Ensure consistency in tone, format, presentation, and word usage. Avoid mixing fonts, colors, styles, sizes, etc., unless absolutely necessary. Never change font size throughout a document.
Know your audience. Know exactly whom you wish to contact. Consider their position, education level, gender, location, culture, and personality traits.
Ask questions. Ask for feedback once you send the finished product. Do not assume that they understood what you meant.
Follow proper etiquette. Always address a person respectfully. Write clearly, use correct grammar, punctuate appropriately, and vary sentence structure. Leave no room for misinterpretation. Keep tabs on acronyms, abbreviations, and jargon.
Have fun. Enjoy creating artful pieces of paper. Who knows, perhaps they could turn into a gift!
Embrace diversity. Include diverse opinions and perspectives in your correspondence. Treat everyone equally regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, socioeconomic background, sex, marital status, or political affiliation.
Remember to breathe. Take breaks regularly to stay fresh and energized. Allow yourself to relax and recharge. Taking a break is crucial for preventing burnout. Workaholic cultures are becoming increasingly common, but rest assured – nobody expects perfection from you. Relax, unwind, and refresh.