Funeral Directors: On A Personal Note

StationeryHave you been to a book signing by one of your favorite authors and received not only their autograph, but a personal inscription just for you? How wonderful it must have been to know that the author took a few moments to think of something meaningful to say, even though many other people were waiting in line. You may have left the bookstore feeling that you were not simply another sale.

Imagine how much your client will appreciate a hand-written note from you as the funeral director. Even better, a note from any person who was directly involved with helping the family make arrangements could have more meaning. Wouldn’t a note mean more coming from someone who has established a relationship with the family? Your client may think so. And they may almost certainly remember, many years later, that someone took the time to pick up a pen and write words of condolence to them.

In our modern times, it is so easy to tap out something on a key-board and push the send key. Would you want to receive an e-mail if your loved one had passed away? Would the sentiment seem flat? A virtual sympathy note may not be met with much appreciation, forgotten as easily as pressing the delete key.

Any effort you can make to personalize the arrangements, before, during and after a funeral for your  can show your clients that you care about their grief. They will likely remember your sensitivity and efforts. So don’t reach for the closest stationary on your desk. Plain is, frankly, boring. It can imply that you don’t feel that you need to impress, consider or take the time to go a little out of your way to console your clients.

Try a little shopping. Look for variety at www.americanstationery.com and at www.crane.com for a selection of styles and colors for thank-you notes and sympathy cards. Keep this definition of sympathy in mind when choosing stationery:

Sympathy is a social affinity in which one person stands with another person, closely understanding his or her feelings. Also known as empathic concern, it is the feeling of compassion or concern for another, the wish to see them better off or happier. Although empathy and sympathy are often used interchangeably, a subtle variation in ordinary usage can be detected. To empathize is to respond to another’s perceived emotional state by experiencing feelings of a similar sort. Sympathy not only includes empathizing, but also entails having a positive regard or a non-fleeting concern for the other person (Wikipedia).

By remembering that sympathy includes a positive outlook, you might choose stationery like the set shown above (from American Stationery). While the formality of the note is present in the border, the inside “secret garden” and the green — rather than black — emphasis in the border offers hope. This break from tradition may separate your note from all the others.

If you need tips on getting started on how to word those personalized notes, visit www.connect.legacy.com. It’s not as difficult as you may think to convey meaningful sympathies to someone, even if you may not know them very well. You can use quotes to start your message, but keep the rest of the message yours. Remember to keep those feelings heartfelt and honest.

Times are busy for so many of us. This is one important reason why even a brief hand-written note can have so much meaning to the recipient. Many people have a need to be heard or understood in times of grief. Holding the personalized note in their hands that you have written, your client may feel comforted and reassured to have chosen you to handle their needs. This could be a deciding factor, not only for them to chose your services again in the future, but in feeling good that they did so in the first place.

It may help to keep in mind that service to a client does not end when the funeral does. In their memory, they may continue to re-experience everything that happened. By using every resource available, you can help to bring comfort to that memory.

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