Penmanship Counts!

Everyone loves their online application process.  After all, it helps us weed through candidates faster, more people can get the information easier, and we don't have random folks sitting in our offices filling out paper applications.  While I'm all for the efficiency side of our online application processes, I think we might be losing something.  I'm going to echo the voice of my most hated teacher in 6th grade here, but, "penmanship counts."  The way a person writes can tell you a lot about the potential candidate. For example, have you ever met a woman who had impeccable penmanship but no sense of style or hygiene?  Usually if she dresses with a stylish flair, she writes with one too.  Not to mention, in an industry where we prize handwritten notes, you'll be able to see if the candidate's writing style will properly represent the image of the office.  After all, you don't want to send out something that looks like a third grader wrote it, and I say that in all kindness, knowing full well that when I'm not paying close attention to what I'm doing, I write like a third grader.  This is why, 2 years ago, I invested good money in a nice Waterman fountain pen, which forces me to slow down my writing speed and focus on what I'm doing or I'll end up with ink all over my hands.  If you don't have the budget to get a high end pen, and who does these days, Pilot makes a disposable option.  When I bought them, they came in a three pack, one black, one blue and one purple (not the most professional but totally fun!) for about $6 a package. (I'm a total office supplies addict.  I can't help myself!)  I used these when I was on site back in the day for signing leases and renewals, and it was amazing how many comments I would get on the pens.  People loved them because they were distinctive and something that you don't see everywhere.  They were also more fun to write with, so I was much more likely to actually get done with writing all of the resident contact cards that I had on my list.

If you have a not-so-neat writer on your staff,  or if you're the one who writes in chicken scratches (and I feel for you if you are!), this page on Paper Penalia has some great exercises and tips for improving your script.  Going from whoa to wow doesn't happen over night, but if it's something you focus on, it will happen.  Trust me!

On the same vein, here's a fun activity for your next staff meeting, courtesy of the folks over at REAL SIMPLE magazine.  In their July 2009 issue, they ran a story on what your handwriting says about your personality.  According to the article, "how you craft letters and words can indicate more than 5,000 different personality traits."  While you don't have time to assess all 5,000 traits at your next meeting, the article does offer up four different tests you can do with having your staff write the sentence, "She sells seashells by the seashore," in script.  Check out the article here to see what this sentence can reveal about the personalities on your staff.  Whether it's right or wrong, it's sure to get them talking and loosen up the flow of communication for the morning!  And who knows, you might even get some insight in to a staff member or two!

Coming Down to Chemistry - Originally posted to MFI 7/26/09

Avoiding the Ole' Swoop'n'Squat