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Eti­quette ex­pert Karen “Man­ners Are Sexy” Cleve­land of­fers a mod­ern lady’s guide to pen­ning the per­fect piece of post.

1. Do a test run. “Grab some scrap pa­per and test out what you want to say. This avoids wast­ing pre­cious sta­tionery when you’re stuck with what to say or how you want to ar­tic­u­late your­self.”

2. set aside some time. “While it takes lit­er­ally sec­onds to fire off a text, writ­ing a let­ter takes time. Plan to sit down (fancy that!) and com­mit to a few mo­ments of time. I like to write a few letters at a time, as it’s eas­ier once you get into a groove. Some good mu­sic, a cozy spot and some tea or wine don’t hurt, ei­ther.”

3. bal­ance your mes­sage. “The best letters strike a bal­ance of up­dat­ing the per­son you are writ­ing to and in­cit­ing a dis­cus­sion with a few ques­tions. If you carry on ad nau­seam about your­self and don’t bother to ask a few ques­tions of the re­cip­i­ent, it might come across as a bit self-im­por­tant.”

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