Episode 21: Elizabeth Cottrell
Unlocking the Power of Personal Notes: An Interview with Elizabeth Cottrell
In the 21st episode of Jack Rants with Modern Banker, your host, Jack Hubbard engages in heartfelt conversations with Elizabeth Cottrell, an author and advocate for the power of personal notes. Together, they explore the profound impact of handwritten letters, sharing touching stories of how these small gestures can connect, comfort, encourage, and inspire, fostering deeper human connections in an increasingly digital world.
Discover the psychology behind keeping treasured notes, learn the art of crafting meaningful messages, and find inspiration to double down on being human in an age of technology.Click to Watch the Video
Jack Hubbard 00:01
I've had the privilege of being in and around banking for more than 50 years. Lots of changes during that time. We've gone from Ledger's to laptops, typewriters to technology. One thing, however, remains the same. Banking is a people business. And I'll be talking with those people that make banking great here on Jack Rants With Modern bankers.
Welcome to Jack Rants With Modern Bankers brought to you by RelPro, and Vertical IQ. Each week I feature top voices in financial services from bankers and consultants, to best selling authors and many more. The goal of this program is simple, to provide insights, success practices and to bring new ideas to the table that you can use to maximize your results.
As I mentioned, I'm a best selling author as my guest today she is Elizabeth Cottrell. Elizabeth third a BA in Biology from Randolph College and an MS in human anatomy from Tulane University School of Medicine. After several years of working on research projects, project management, and freelance writing, Elizabeth launched her own company heartspoken.com. In 2010, she was elected board chaired First Bank of Virginia in 2016. Elizabeth is the first female chairperson in the bank's 100 plus year history.
What I wanted to talk with Elizabeth about today is her fabulous book Heartspoken: How to Write Notes that Connect, Comfort, Encourage, and Inspire, where she tackles the critical issues of writing notes that help nurture personal and business relationships. Take note, everybody of my session with Elizabeth Cottrell on Jack Rants With Modern Bankers. Here we go.
So as I mentioned, my good friend, Larry Levine, had a program with Elizabeth, a number of months ago, and I listened to it and it was just after the book came out, I think, and it was, it was just terrific. So I had to ask if she would be on and it's so interesting that Elizabeth is the chairwoman of First Bank in Virginia. So we have so much in common but Elizabeth, the book is just fantastic. Everybody should have it. Welcome to the program.
Elizabeth Cottrell 02:24
Thank you so much, Jack, been looking forward to this and it is synchronicity that our paths crossed this way.
Jack Hubbard 02:30
Indeed it is. And we're going to talk about kind of old school stuff here today. But it needs to be the current school, and the future school. And that's writing notes. But before we get into this, as you know, on every program, I like to ask you a question about what's going on within the world and your life. Tell me something good.
Elizabeth Cottrell 02:51
Well, something good is that I have lived long enough to enjoy the technology that allows us to do what we're doing today and so much more. And yet, we can still hang on to the as Larry Levine says everything old becomes new again. We can rejoice in the rebirth of some of those great old values.
Jack Hubbard 03:13
I was playing golf recently with a bunch of buddies. We have eight guys that have played golf together since we were freshmen in high school. And we're fortunate enough to be around and healthy enough. And we all talked about leisure suits and we wondered when leisure suits were coming back. So we'll see what happens.
Elizabeth Cottrell 03:32
I wish I didn't remember what that was, but I do.
Jack Hubbard 03:35
Yeah, the look wasn't Terrific. Well, I want to take a decent dive into your book. But I also like to find out about why, all the whys. What was the inspiration for this book?
Elizabeth Cottrell 03:48
Well Jack the inspiration and I will give my daughter full credit, and also a stranger. I had always taught. I was taught to write notes. I was my mother, my grandmother's , they all did it beautifully. And it was the thing to do. And it was nice manners. But the day that I got a letter from a stranger was the day that my mind shifted about how important it was. And this lady had just lost a son to suicide. And I didn't know her. I didn't know her son. But I knew her son's fiancee and I had written that young woman a note of sympathy. I had no idea what I said. I just know that I was just feeling so sorry for her and wanting to reach out and comfort her and she shared my note with her future mother in law. And the woman wrote to me and said that it was a lifeline at the worst time in her whole life and she had read it 25 times.
Now. What did I say? I have no idea but that was a light switch in my head that writing notes is way more than just good manners. So I kind of upped my own game of writing notes and some people would say, Oh, you write such nice notes. I never know what to say. And finally somebody said, I wish you'd write a book. Well, that seed planted probably years thinking about it, and my daughter in April 2021, month after COVID, the whole world shut down, she called me for my 70th birthday. And she said, Mom, I know your calendar has gone from completely full to completely empty, just like everybody else's. And I want you to get that book written. And to make sure that you do for your birthday, I'm giving you time with a friend of mine who is an accountability coach. And her friend called me every day for the first six months of that year, and I got that book written so, so a stranger and my daughter. That's why.
Jack Hubbard 05:51
So it took you six months to be able to do this. And I just think that the subtitle of the book, and I don't know how you came up with this, but I think the subtitle is truly outstanding, how to write notes that connect, comfort, encourage and inspire. Talk about those words, and why they're so important to note writing today.
Elizabeth Cottrell 06:17
Sure, well, connection, I think we are hardwired for connection as human beings. And I think that that's something we probably can say, can nod when we hear that and say, Yes, I agree with you. But the science is actually catching up in terms of, of the importance of connection for mental health, physical health, and everything in between. So I have actually been writing about connection for years in my blog, because I believe that the four essential connections of my life are with my higher power, with others, with myself and with nature. If something's wrong in my life, it's usually one of those four that I need to work on.
So I was already thinking about connection. And of course, what is writing a note but a connection tool. But when I came to realize that it was not just a tool, it was almost what I call a superpower, it became my mission to convince people that yes, you can do this. And it's going to be the closest to being to having a superpower that you're ever going to have and to the rest of it, besides connection, can encourage, you know, inspire, I tried to encompass the very the real width of what the spectrum of what kind of notes we can write people think about thank you notes and sympathy notes but there are, there's so much more. And that was what I was trying to convey in that subtitle.
Jack Hubbard 07:53
Well, it's great. And in the back of your book, toward the end, you write all kinds of paragraphs about the different kinds of notes that you can write, and you give some tremendous examples. And by the way, speaking of example, I gotta show you all this, this is great. So when I get the book, I of course, get a nice note from Elizabeth. And one of the things you talk about is, okay, here's your nice note with your name on it, which was great but it can be on a scrap piece of paper, it can be on a post it note, it can be on, you know, lined paper, it can be anything, it really isn't the media so much. It's really the message that's important.
Elizabeth Cottrell 08:35
It absolutely is. And as soon as some of your listeners hear that, they're going to say, yes, the message is important, but I don't know what to say. That's where we have to just take a deep breath. And there's a wonderful quote, it's attributed to Maya Angelou, but she says she didn't say it that we people don't remember what you said, but they remember how you made them feel. And that's what people will remember. So stop stressing about the words and just get what's in your heart out there. Even if it's just a friendly way of thinking about you, believe me that's still greatly appreciated. But yes, to your point about we can write on anything. One of the best things about having written the book is hearing stories from people now about unusual letters and correspondences. But there was a delightful correspondence between a baker and a chocolatier. And he wrote his letter letters on flour sacks and and she wrote hers on sugar bags.
Jack Hubbard 09:42
I love it. I love it. And you know, I've been thinking about this. When I was a kid. I was in high school, maybe a freshman in college. And my passion has always been play by play of sports and that's what I really wanted to do. So I was dabbling in it at the local radio station and I wrote a letter to a guy who is pretty famous in Chicago, Jack Brickhouse is his name. And he's since passed. But he was the play by play voice of the Chicago Cubs for many, many years as well as other things.
And I wrote him just a note, and I didn't type it. I just wrote it. And I said, you know, I've sent a tape of one of the games that I did, never expecting to hear back. And he wrote me a two page letter, and he said, you know, Jack, you should continue your career push forward, and I've listened to your tape. And by the way, here, two or three things I'd suggest. So I know, he listened to the tape, because he made some very specific recommendation that has always stuck with me. And in fact, I framed the letter and I still have it.
That's the power of this. But you talk about in the book, when you start, early chapter, you talk about the three why's of writing notes. What are the three ways of writing notes?
Elizabeth Cottrell 10:57
Absolutely. And, you know, it could certainly be different for different people, but why do I want to write better notes? You know, why is that worth the effort? Why does it make a difference? And I think as you think through those three, and I think that's what are those, the three you're talking about? Because when we have that mindset of one of the things that we can make a difference in life is to connect and to make a difference, then that really becomes a very motivating thing. And it shifts in your head, that that sense of obligation to know this is an opportunity. And so that's why and then is it worth the effort? Well, I will not lie to you and tell you that you're going to get praise for every no you write, most of them will go into a black hole, you will not know whether they made a difference or not.
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Elizabeth Cottrell 12:16
But all it takes is a handful over your lifetime. And you will know that you have left a legacy that's made a difference. And the story I love to tell about that is when my husband retired as a physician. And of course, he had a wonderful relationship with the pharmacist here in our little town. And when that pharmacist retired, he was a generation older than my husband. My husband wrote him a note just congratulating him. And he said, Nelson, I know because my patients told me how often you gave them a break on the cost of medicine if they couldn't afford it. I also know that you delivered medicine on weekends and at night sometimes. And I just want to thank you. And oh, by the way, I also remember the time that I made a mistake on a prescription. And you called me and said, Doc, is that what you meant? And you saved me from making a mistake.
And so he wrote that lovely note, thinking no more about it. And fortunately, that man lived another 15 years or so before he died. And we went to the funeral home. And as soon as my husband got in the door, the oldest daughter came running up to him and said Dr. Cottrell,, Dr. Cottrell thank you for coming. You have no idea how much your note meant to dad. And we have been going through his things. And we found it. And it was in his Bible. Oh, it was in his Bible. And so that note now, and they had passed it around, and there were five children and tons of grandchildren and they and spouses, every one of those people then had a glimpse into their father or grandfather's life that they wouldn't have had otherwise. So the idea of the ripple effect is just, it's what keeps me going.
Jack Hubbard 14:06
Well, and you and I are old enough to remember, you know, the power of these notes. And I, you know, we all talk about the you know, maybe they don't do it anymore in class, but maybe they text each other. But we used to pass notes around about this girl or this guy, or whatever the case might be. And I think today what's happened is we're in this short cycle world where we expect that if we do something, we get some and your point about selflessness and about just writing the note because it's the right thing to do, and how it can have an impact on people. Doesn't matter if they write you back and say, well, Elizabeth, thanks so much. The impact you've made is really important, and I think that's kind of paying it forward. But you're right in the book and you didn't use this word, but I will, because I like to rant that. This is really a lost art of writing notes. And you write in the book, there are seven reasons and I call them excuses not for not writing notes. What are some of the reasons people tell you that they don't write notes?
Elizabeth Cottrell 15:15
Well, the biggest one is I don't have time. And of course, that we're all busy, and there's no question that, that can be that that is probably the first thing that pops up. But let me just suggest that there are people who have made time, the first government or the first President Bush is famous for all of the notes that he wrote over his lifetime. The retired CEO of Campbell's Soup Company, Cohn and forgot his first name, but he supposedly wrote over 30,000 notes to employees. So it's, you have to make the time like you do for anything that you think is worthwhile. So that's the biggest thing. The other thing is that they don't know what to say. And we've already talked about that. And that is one of the things that I suggest in my formula, and we'll talk about that, but it is to take a moment to take a deep breath and just trust that your heart will tell you what to write. If it's really sensitive. A lot of times, it's not a sensitive note, it's just the thinking of you thinking you'd enjoy this, you know, thank you so much, that it's not something to release, delicate or sensitive. But those are the two big ones.
Let me just look here and make sure, oh, here's the biggie, not the biggie, but I would put this next in the rank. And that is, if you don't make it convenient, you're not going to do it. If you have every time you write a note or think about writing a note, if you have to scramble around the house or the office and look for your stationery and your pins, and your stamps and all of that, it's just going to be too much trouble. So set yourself up for success by having stationery that you can just grab by having it close by that you can just grab by having the pin nearby by having the stamps and all of that. And work it's a different system for everybody from for some people, it's a drawer, I have a particular part of my desk that I do, I also have a little tote bag that I tote that I if I'm going to go to a different room, I can grab it, carry it so and then really great if you have a little ziploc bag that you can carry your stuff, or a briefcase, when you have a few minutes in a doctor's office or waiting for an appointment. So set yourself up for success. That is probably great advice from that standpoint, if you're serious about wanting to do better at it.
Jack Hubbard 17:52
Well, that's interesting, because I was gonna ask you, you are what I'll call you the ultimate note writer of this generation, because you do it so well and so much. And I was going to ask you, like, for example, LinkedIn, we talk about LinkedIn. And when you get up in the morning, or when you get to the office, maybe for the first 15 minutes, just do something on LinkedIn for 15 minutes. And I was gonna say, Well, is there a time of day you do this? It sounds like when it comes to you, you feel I gotta write a note to Fred because of X. And you're carrying stuff around with you. So you can meet the moment. And to be able to do that when you travel. And when you go out do you do this? Like if you're at a Panera, and you get an idea? Oh, I gotta write it. No, do you carry the stuff along with you?
Elizabeth Cottrell 18:40
I usually have access to it. But that's not all, it often is not convenient. And so I pull out my phone, and I dictate myself and note, I actually use Trello. So that's, it's not always convenient. And so there again, don't get yourself weighed down by what other people do. You find your own rhythm. So I don't write every day. Usually I do. But I often do batch writing. Big just that just works for me when I have a bit of time. And I have a list of people that I know that I want to write to. With exception, some are time sensitive, and you just get those out. But more often than not a day or two one way or the other doesn't matter. So find your own rhythm. But yes, if you think about having a tickler system of some sort, whether it's to write it on a piece of paper in your pocket or or send yourself a message.
Jack Hubbard 19:47
It's one of those discipline plans if you don't have the discipline to do it. If you don't have the feeling that I feel it's important to do for somebody else. It's never going to happen. You talked about it kind of like a pharmacist, and how he kept that letter that note from your husband and passed it around. I'm sure in the book when you did some that you wrote the book, I'm sure you did some research on this. But what's, what's the psychology behind people keeping these notes? And I gotta tell you, you know, we mentioned before we started taping, this will be my last show that we're tapping at my current home that we've lived in for 30 years. And we're moving to a new home, and we're going to build a new house and all the rest of it. As we go, as we have been going through all of our stuff for 30 years, we find notes that people have written to us a long time ago, Oh, welcome to your new home. My daughter would write us notes, my son, and we kept them for some reason. And when I said to my wife, oh, you know, those are? No, we're taking them along with us. Why do people hold on to these notes? Elizabeth?
Elizabeth Cottrell 21:01
That's a great question. And just to just to clarify, the pharmacist did not share the letter he put it in his Bible, and he just read it over and over himself. It was his children that shared it. But Jack, I think it's I think it is the fact that that letter represents somebody who has taken it, has touched it, has thought about it, it's a tactile as well as an emotional reason. And I think that we don't even think about why we don't throw those away, why we throw the junk mail away, and why we don't throw the handwritten notes away. And now, it's so rare to get them that that's even more reason. But there is no question that they are saved.
I had someone at church come up to me about a year ago after her father died, and she was cleaning out his things. She said, Elizabeth daddy had a basket by his chair, with all of the notes he got. And when we were going through them, half of them were from you. So know, people do say those things. And it represents love in it's a physical manifestation of a bit of love that somebody felt enough to reach out and, and there's that ability to read it again. So that when you get a text message, you may feel it makes you feel like a million bucks, but you're not likely to go back and look at it again. But that feeling that that letter generated for you in you is something you can enjoy over and over. And older people, especially when they can't get out, they can't see people in person. Those notes are a lifeline.
Jack Hubbard 22:49
Yeah, and that's, excuse me, that's part of the subtitle of your book, The Inspire part, if the feeling that I remember that that was such a great moment in my life, etc. Well, one of the things I like about your book, and a lot of books that I read is this whole idea around practicality. And so you know, we okay, we went to write some notes, but you've put together a formula that you've called notes, talk about the formula.
Elizabeth Cottrell 23:17
I did and not that just for me, I just need quick little things. So I was hoping that this might kind of be a way for people to remember. So N-O-T-E-S is my formula. And na n is natural to write as you speak. So I think it helps some people to stop stressing if they can just think about what I would say if they were right across the kitchen table from me. And that's what I mean by natural. O is for open. And that is what I've mentioned a couple of times to just take a moment to open your heart to why you're writing and what you want to say and, and expect that the words will come to you. And to be clear about your intention.
What do you want to convey? What do you want the other person to experience when they read your note? T is for telling and this is to tell a story to tell to tell why? I think it's perfectly okay to start a note and just say I'm just bereft. I'm just so sad. Or I'm so thrilled or whatever. Tell them what you're feeling and then also tell them why. And so the tale is just one. I wrote a note one or two after a great uncle died. And I wrote to his wife and I said Uncle Jim took me fishing one time and the only thing I caught was a shoe but he just thought it was wonderful that so and I told that story. Well that went around the family and people just love that. So E is for me. This goes back to the thinking and feeling about putting yourself in their shoes. And that's what empathy is all about. An S is for sharing. And it's also for specific, so share. Not just thank you for the nice wedding gift, but thank you for the blue bowl, it's sitting on my kitchen counter, and it reminds me of my grandmother. And I'll think of you every time I use it.
So that's the notes formula and may not work for you. But a lot of people have felt it gives them just a little bit of they can kind of run through that acronym and think about and not every one applies to every type of note, but it's just a little tool. A little trick.
Jack Hubbard 25:44
Yeah. And I think there's a myth as we talk that people say, Well, okay, this has got to be a, you know, Shakespearean novel here. It's [inaudible]
Elizabeth Cottrell 25:56
Absolutely. One of the nicest notes I ever got was when my husband and I had volunteered at an event and the event organizer just said, Dear Elizabeth, and John, couldn't have done it without you. Thanks. You know, and it's handwritten. May I just mention one more thing, because you alluded to the tactile piece about why notes are so special, and why we save them? How often I have heard people say, I recognize my father's handwriting, as soon as I see it. My mother's handwriting, there's something about seeing a recognized handwriting that takes you back to that person. And it's true with notes is true with recipes that people have handwritten. And I even just literally this week heard somebody say she was going to go back in her record of correspondence and make sure that she or tried to find a letter from every special person in her life, so she could save their handwriting. We thought that was kind of fun.
Jack Hubbard 27:01
That is so neat. Well, you inspired me, when my grant wins, started the eighth grade this year, as a result of your book. And we text all the time back and forth. But I thought, Well, I'm gonna write them a note. Here, well, it's all thanks to you. And that, you know, it just reminded me after I read the book, I should just write him a short little note. And I remember my eighth grade was one of the best times in my life, I met some really good friends. And then one of them plays basketball. And one of them kind of draws and does a lot of art and photography. And so I tried to customize it for that. And it was short. And, you know, it was not perfect handwriting. But I think they got the message. I'm trying to model the way. I'm curious. And maybe you don't know this about schools. What are schools doing? What is education doing now, to foster this whole concept within the tech now all the technology that we have? What are they doing to foster the concept of writing notes?
Elizabeth Cottrell 28:10
I'm not aware of what they're doing. I'm not aware that it's part of the oh, what's the word that they have? They have a curriculum that they're required to kind of use at least in Virginia.
Elizabeth Cottrell 28:44
Yeah, there you go. Well, that's yeah, that's one of them. But at any rate, no, not enough. Not enough. And there is a wonderful young woman named Ashley Pritchard, and Ashley Campbell, sorry, and she has a company called Karlin blue. And she is dedicated to making stationery for kids. And she is actually put together because she's got a wonderful name for it. I've forgotten but a pack. It's got two thank you notes. It's got two sympathy notes. It's got two congratulations notes. And it's two Happy birthday cards. And the idea being that the child will be bound to encounter those four situations if the parents will encourage them to write and it's you know, very, the graphics are very child centric and made for elementary school when they've started to write that kind of thing. But you touched on a couple things.
One is you are modeling it and that's what we all need to kind of take on and the second thing is you are tailored and customized. I actually had a couple of young people pick their brains one was nine and one was 11. I was picking their brains about what, and what do you like to do to get notes and then the Nine year old boy said Alaikum if they're interesting. And I thought that was a wonderfully honest answer, because the point is, if you can know what they are interested in, do they like dinosaurs? Do they like sharks? Do they? Do they like sci-fi? So I think that's all, that's all important.
And if I may make a suggestion, and I have not done this myself, I have saved them, but copies, but I haven't put them together but save you a copy of what you send your grandchildren. Because they may not even appreciate them now, but then give it to them when they turn 21. Or, you know, put them together in a, in a little folder or book or something like that.
Jack Hubbard 30:40
That's a really good idea. Let's switch topics a little bit. Let's talk about the business side of this. I was at a company before, excuse me, before I started my own company, I would do something called for days. And I would pretty dedicatedly every day, I would read a newspaper called The American Banker, or other local newspapers and I would find articles and I would rip them out and just send a post it note saying Jim thought you got to see this. And I would do it every single day. I also got to the point where I just abhorred sending Christmas cards, because everybody did it. So I started sending Thanksgiving cards. And I would write a little bit of a note in there because usually by around Thanksgiving time, I would do it on a Sunday, watching the Bears game. And by the time November comes around, the bears are usually out of it. So I couldn't just kind of watch it in the background. What's your take on holiday notes within a holiday greeting card?
Elizabeth Cottrell 31:49
I'm gonna just go out on a limb here and say a greeting card without a note is an awful lot of money that you spent for not much impact. I and it's and I get it, if you've got a long list, it's tough. It's easy to stick to the note. I mean, we've all done the probably the letter that we reproduced and stuff. But even if you do that, put a little personal note in it. And I I agree with you that I actually have, I call it the holiday season. And I think this season in our country starts with thanksgiving and goes through New Year. And I just encourage people not only to spread it out so that the people receiving them can enjoy them over a longer period of time. But because we get so stressed out in December, you know, the closer it gets to Christmas, the worse it is.
And so just you spread that list out and send a few Thanksgiving cards and send a few Christmas cards and send a few new year's cards and And heck if you can't do that. Valentine's Day, not not too far down the road. So I really think and I just please please, please spread it out and take the time to put a little note in it. You brought another important point up though. And that is there is nothing like the impact of an unexpected note.
So that you what you were talking about cutting out an article sending somebody a book sending us just sending them a note saying I saw such and such a movie last night powerful reminded me of the discussion we had blah, blah, blah, those notes really, they show that that person was top of mind for you. It'll help them put you top of mind. And so those are wonderful practices. And I expect if you interviewed top salespeople that most of them would have some kind of a practice like that.
Jack Hubbard 33:57
Very true. You started this program by talking about the president of Campbell's soup, and how he sent 30,000 notes to his employees. What's your take on sending notes to internal colleagues? What's happening around that today?
Elizabeth Cottrell 34:15
That's a great question. By the way, I finally remember his name Doug, Doug Cohn is his name. The CEO of our bank is good about it and I see it. I really honestly think there's a bit of a resurgence. I'd like to think that anyway. But you are really right on point in asking the question because writing professional notes is a little different than writing personal notes in some ways. For one thing, there are some boundaries that we have to be sensitive to. Sadly, men have to be careful about women. and that they are employees, not to be too friendly, not to be too intimate. But just, you know, there's that caring thing. And I actually learned an important lesson from my CEO of our bank, that I had to be careful, certainly to write a sympathy note or write, to write a thank you note, but, but to do more than that, sometimes you don't know about employees behind the scenes.
So if I might just say, Oh, it would be so nice if I wrote to the regional manager and told him what a great job he was doing. But if I don't check with my CEO, first, I might find out that maybe he's not doing such a great job. And I didn't know it. Because that's not the kind of thing that gets brought to a board on a regular basis. And that would be embarrassing for my CEO for the Chairman of the Board to have written and said, You're doing a great job when in fact, he wasn't.
So there's a sensitivity and a communication that needs to occur if there are some in that particular situation. But I do try to write when people have milestones, 20 years with the bank, 15 years with the bank, I tried to write notes for those. If I get it, we actually have a newsletter with that information published every month. So that's easy, but I do rely on our executive secretary to let me know about personal deaths and the family and, and that kind of thing but there is there is a place and again, I think a CEO can encourage that among their own staff by providing them with stationery, providing them with with a note card and not even folder note just a single note that that you you know, it's very clear, it doesn't have to be long when you use stationery like that.
Jack Hubbard 36:53
Well, it's modeling the way and and we talked about educators before, but I think and I'll make a comment, and then you certainly comment on it as well. The biggest influence that the kids have is their parents. And if they could see their parents or if their parents said, you know, we're going on the way to school, if you're driving to school, and they would hold this mail for me, I'd drop this off after I drop you off at school. Oh, what is this mom? Well, I said, I'm sending a note to your grandmother, and I'm sending a note to Uncle Fred. And that kind of models the way and I think we're missing a lot of that too, in our own homes, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth Cottrell 37:34
I'm afraid you're right. And I would love to think that my book would have a little impact on that. But because it's out of sight out of mind, and we do get distracted, we do get. I do think it's interesting, Jack, I think COVID made a lot more people think about it than they had done before, which was great for the timing of my book. But I mean, we were separated, we couldn't see each other. So I think that there was a little bit more of a shift towards writing notes. It's also interesting, my daughter is in her early 40s. And she's a fabulous note writer. But, you know, not everybody is but she but there are some in that generation that are picking up the mantle. Well, happily,
Jack Hubbard 38:26
This has been great, great conversation, and I can't let you go without at least broaching the subject of AI and chat GPT. You know, someone could say, Well, geez, we got chatGPT. I could just go in and given a few criteria in chat GPT could come up with something. I find that to be unfortunate that you can't use human emotion to just write a simple note. But what are you seeing around ChatGPT? What impact is that having on writing notes?
Elizabeth Cottrell 39:00
You know, you ask the question, and I don't and I have not seen the impact yet. I think it's inevitable. I like ChatGPT myself, but I don't use it. I have never used it for my note writing. I've used it as a research tool. And I've used it to generate ideas or blog post titles and things like that. I can see a very legitimate place. Particularly and I hope people will take the effort to do a draft but to run a draft through it and chatGBT may be able to come up with some. If you say, Please give me some effective wording for this and that kind of thing. But I think it's and if people really are struggling, they certainly can go to chatGPT and say, give me 10 templates, or 10 samples of a sample of sympathy note for suicide or, you know, specific situations and where they'll get some answers. And if they will use it as a tool. And just to generate ideas, that's great, but I would, I would hate to see it. I would hate to see it replaced by doing it, doing it ourselves. But I had a right to hear what a writer says, and I love this. And she was, she was hearing a lot of writers and authors bemoaning AI being the demise of originality. And she said, we just have to double down on being human. And I love that I thought, okay, we can do that I can double down on being human. And that's a good way to do that.
Jack Hubbard 40:44
What's a great way to end our program, how I'm very sure that you're getting a lot of requests for speaking engagements and other people saying, well, you know, how can you come into my bank and teach my bankers how to use this book to be more effective? How do I get a hold of you, Elizabeth, if I want to either buy your wonderful book, or maybe engage you to speak, etc?
Elizabeth Cottrell 41:09
Well, thank you, probably the easiest is just through my website, heartspoken.com. And heartspoken.com/contact, has a form and actually has my email and all the different social media ways to do it. If they wanted to know more about the book, it's heartspoken.com/book. And and if they want to, sort of stay in touch through my newsletters, it's heartspoken.com/newsletters, I do speak and I have been actually, very, I did not have the commercial or corporate audience in mind when I wrote the book, until I got about halfway through. And then I thought, No, and I added a chapter called take it to the office. But that is the group that has picked up as much as any group in terms of asking me to come speak. I've been very touched by that.
Jack Hubbard 42:06
Oh, that's wonderful. Well, Elizabeth, congratulations on the book again. It's absolutely marvelous. And thank you for your time. I really appreciate your friendship and your kind note, and I'm sure we'll be seeing each other down the line.
Elizabeth Cottrell 42:20
Absolutely, Jack, and I appreciate you and a shout out to Larry Levine for putting this together.
Jack Hubbard 42:26
You bet. Thanks again, everybody. Bye bye. Thanks for listening to this episode of Jack Rants with modern bakers with my guest, Elizabeth Cottrell. This program is brought to you by our great friends at Vertical IQ and Ro Pro. Join us next time for more special guests bringing new marketing sales and leadership insights and ideas that will provide your bank or credit union that competitive edge you need to succeed.
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