The first greeting cards of the holiday season are rolling in. It's a time to reconnect, to let people know you're thinking of them and to send heartfelt wishes for a fun and peaceful season.
But how do those wishes resonate with you when you receive them?
Last week I opened an email with the subject line "Happy Thanksgiving!' I was feeling good that this person remembered since it was someone I hadn't expected to hear from. And the wishes were beautiful.
Until I read the last paragraph of the email. It was a promotion for that person's services: "If you want next year to be your best year in business, my [name of her program] will help you."
And it went on for a full paragraph.
The same thing had happened a month earlier on my birthday but from a different person.
So were Thanksgiving and my birthday just excuses to promote to me? Or were the wishes really genuine?
I'll never know.
And it really doesn't matter because my first reaction of joy was followed closely by disappointment that this was nothing more than a promotion. The question arose in my mind: "Does this person really care? Or do I simply represent potential business for her?"
A variation on this is sending a greeting card by mail with a business card enclosed.
Consider the purpose of the greeting.
If I want to wish someone a happy birthday or season's greetings, the purpose is to do just that, to send them good wishes and let them know I'm thinking of them at that time.
But it grates with me when I get good wishes combined with a self-serving promotion.
When they're separate, you'll retain your credibility in my mind and you'll be memorable for the right reasons.
I can understand why someone would use this opportunity to spread the word about their business.
But life is not always about business. Sometimes it's simply about being human. Creating personal connections. Keeping in touch. Letting people know you care.
Or building relationships by sending greetings with no other purpose that to say "Happy Thanksgiving/Christmas/birthday" or whatever the occasion may be.
Copyright 2014 Maggie Dennison