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About Consulting Letters

Courier Email FedEx or USPS

How should you deliver your written documents?

This isn't rocket science, but it does make a difference. Timing is everything, and I generally ask myself, "How important is this piece I've written, and when do they need it?" To clarify, I often ask recipients, "How soon do you need it?" That helps me plan my response, and I try to be earlier than they expect. 

The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) gets called "snail mail," unfairly I think. They have a neat website ( where you can choose your delivery date, and print labels and postage online. It's a very cool timesaver. They have a 9x12" Flat Rate Envelope that you can stuff with documents and send cross-country for less than ten dollars.

Urgent communications go by e-mail, or if they're marketing packages or proposals, I like FedEx. Nothing says "I'm important—open me first!" like a FedEx envelope.

Nearly all communications go by e-mail today, so you can stand out by writing on real paper. This, of course, is non-trendy—that is, not green. So I wouldn't mail hundreds of letters, but a few hard-copy cover letters or thank you notes won't tarnish your carbon footprint.

Handwritten notes are nice because so few people use them. Has anyone written you a note this week? How about last week? The week before . . . ??

I use handwritten notes to convey thank you, friendship, or sympathy. E-mail works for all three, but is less personal.

When I'm delivering a proposal, my first choice is to meet with the potential client to discuss our ideas in person. So I will never mail, e-mail, or FedEx a proposal unless there is no other choice. If no other choice, I'll send it by courier in town—or by FedEx if out of town. That is, unless the customer wants or needs the proposal instantly and then e-mail is the only choice.

I send invoices by e-mail and follow-up with a mailed copy. E-mail gets lost so easily, and I don't want to be dunning a customer for an invoice they've never seen. No client has ever complained, and 98% of my invoices are paid within 30 days.