Writing by hand for business: how to make sure your handwriting shapes up

writing by hand,business,handwriting,handwrittenIn this article we shared some ideas on how writing by hand for business messages can be a welcome tonic for customers and prospects who are getting a bit oblivious to endless streams of emails and word-processed printed communications.

But if you’re like me and have handwriting that looks like it has been written by a young chimpanzee with two broken arms, you need to check yours out and work on it a bit.

Writing by hand has a lot to answer for

There is a science all devoted to handwriting, as you know, and it’s called graphology. I always hide when a graphologist is proclaimed at a networking meeting because I’m terrified I’ll be called up to demonstrate and be an example of how a supposedly intelligent writer can get away with handwriting that, when put down on paper, looks like the wiring diagram for a high performance car.

Mind you, there are other supposedly bright sparks whose handwriting is a joke. Doctors, for example. In the days before machine printed medical prescriptions there were numerous gags about doctors’ handwriting being terrible and the poor pharmacists/druggists who tried to decipher the scribble so we didn’t die from the wrong medication.

However in business, we have ways of ensuring that our handwriting – when we use it for marketing purposes – conveys the personal, friendly intonation we intend without making the reader squint to figure out what it says. I don’t need to emphasize how important it is, if you’re going to write by hand some messages to your customers and prospects, that you make sure your words are easy to read.

So how can we make sure our handwriting is clear?

1.If your normal handwriting is a messy scrawl, the answer is simple: slow yourself down. After all, in this context you’re not going to be writing a 1,000 word article or blog post; merely a few words or sentences. Take your time. It may seem like a waste of precious seconds, but face it – it is  only a matter of seconds to get it right.

2.Make sure you press hard enough on the paper or card so that the reader can see clearly what you have written. To do this properly you may need to experiment with the type of pen you use; some will provide the image you want without any excessive pressure from you, but some won’t.

3. If your normal handwriting slopes up or down on a piece of paper, adjust the angle of the card or letter you’re writing by hand so that angle coincides with your natural slant, if you see what I mean. If you’re going to write more than a few words it may help you to place a piece of lined paper just underneath the area you’re going to write on, and follow the flow of the lines.

4. Don’t write with your words either too close together, or too far apart. If you think this may be a problem for you, practice what you want to write by hand on another piece of paper so that by the time you come to write the message to your customer, you know how to space your words properly.

5. Avoid writing by hand for business when you have had alcoholic drinks, strong painkilling drugs or other mind-altering medication / recreational substances. Although you may feel that what you produce is perfectly OK, when you look back at it the next day it won’t be. And for that reason, never send marketing information that you write by hand under those circumstance without checking it first at a later stage when the effects of whatever you have taken have worn off.

6.Experiment with different types of pen and pencil. Although pencil is probably inappropriate because it looks temporary and draft-like, there are many devices available for you to write with now and how well they work for you is an entirely personal choice. My own choice is ballpoint pens because I write by hand far too quickly and ballpoints are the only types that can keep up with me. However far more interesting results can be had from felt-tip and other fabric-based pens, plus of course the good old-fashioned pen-and-ink format which is still around and – if used by an expert – can look amazing.

What advice can you share about writing by hand and how to do it well? Please let us know!

And don’t forget to check out yesterday’s article on why writing by hand can be a very useful tool in your overall marketing communications toolbox…

photo credit: slapjack via photopin cc




  1. I would recommend using a computer to draft what you want to say first. It provides an opportunity to hone the message and helps by highlighting spelling errors.
    I try to always include a handwritten note on a compliment slip when I send paperwork to clients to add a little personal touch to otherwise formal paperwork.

  2. Good idea, Dave – thanks for that! It makes sense to draft a longer handwritten message that way, although it’s probably not necessary just for a sentence or so.

  3. Thanks for this! I’m definitely 1 and 3. I never thought of this before and you’re absolutely correct. This will come in handy when time for writing a “thank you for doing business” letters.

  4. You’re welcome, Lorenzo! When you’re writing those letters, a good personal touch that doesn’t require a lot of writing is to write the salutation, sign-off and signature by hand with the rest word processed as usual. Has the effect, without breaking your wrist….


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