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The pen is mightier than the sword

Most of my learned readers will readily identify the origin of what has become a well-known and well used saying. It was included in the words of a play written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton of England in a play called Richelieu about the late Cardinal Richelieu and was produced in 1839. Some of you might even remember the wonderful opening night!

I ask a question today that many of you might well laugh openly at! My question for what it’s worth is as follows. Is the fountain pen mightier than the email? (or god forbid the text message?) I hear further chuckles.

My love of the hand written letter and the fountain pen goes back to my mother and her generation when their communication avenues were either a poor phone service or a good postal one. In fact for many, before the phone service was improved, the postal route was their only line of communication apart from talking over the wall to their neighbours.

My mother had 30 grandchildren and used to keep in touch on a regular basis by letter with them all. Can you remember the joy of receiving a letter from someone you liked or loved that contained an interesting and positive message? A letter perhaps that you kept and looked at from time to time. Something to treasure!

Last year our company had a meeting with Greg Canty a communications and PR specialist who was showing us ways to improve our social media skills with a view to the better marketing of our company and the services we offer.  In particular they were trying to bring the older generation myself and my fellow director Dermot O Mahoney up to speed on LinkedIn.

Knowing that I was not a social media expert Greg asked how I communicated with someone that had achieved something, or opened a new business, or was celebrating being in business for a long period, and wanted to congratulate them. I said I would take out my fountain pen and some note paper and send them a handwritten letter to say well done!

In fairness to him even though it was to him, an old fashioned idea, he could see the value of that wonderful way of communication straight away and said “Ted never stop doing that. Keep doing it that way because by sending a handwritten letter you will stand so far out from the crowd in the mind of that person! That letter will be kept and possible never thrown out.”

Since that meeting I have used the fountain pen more and more to keep in touch and just this morning I heard that an old friend was retiring from his well-paid job in the next few months. And yes the fountain pen came out and tomorrow he will receive my good luck letter on his upcoming retirement. Yes I did include my business card, which is really quite difficult to enclose with an email or text message. 

Last week I sent another letter to an existing customer whose business had received an award. I had seen a photo in our local paper. He phoned me to thank me for my letter and interestingly said that it was only after receiving my letter that he started to realise that the business award was quite important to his company. During our telephone conversation he also mentioned that he wanted to come to see me as he had some money on deposit that he wanted me to invest for him.

I rest my case

Ted Dwyer Family Business

June 2015

By |2017-01-30T12:51:18+00:00June 22nd, 2015|Categories: Business Relationships, Communications|0 Comments

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  1. Armando Paz, Jr. 22nd June 2015 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    What a profound article! There are great lessons in this article for all: Young, middle age and for those of us youngsters over the age of 50 who may have forgotten this art. Writing a note or a letter, ( specifically in a fountain pen) is, what I tell my 15 year-old boy, about thinking outside the box or, as my favorite art professor at The Columbus College of Art would say,-” Floridian, see beyond what you think you see”-.Kudos to you, sir, for this awesome article.

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