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February 2006 Archives

Email signature guidelines

Make it easy for people to reach you. Whether it's the media, a prospective client or members of your own team, not being readily accessible can cost you time, money and even business.

Always include your phone number in your email signature, even if you're just replying to someone with whom you've been working. Case in point: I recently needed to contact a facility rep about a point in his proposal, but didn't have the file with me at that moment. I checked recent emails from him but none included his direct line (or any phone number for that matter). I ended up googling his facility to find the main number, then had to endure a series of phone transfers between departments before finally reaching his voice mail. The irony was all his emails include a fancy logo graphic in the signature area...with only his company name.

Automate your signature. Most email systems allow users to automate signatures. Take advantage of this feature. For instance, set up one signature for inclusion in new emails you send. Create another for inclusion in replies or interoffice emails. I have several signatures set up in Outlook and all I have to do is click on "Insert, Signatures" and select the one I want to use. It's a lot faster than typing my phone number every time I send an email!

Here are a few basic guidelines for email signatures:

External email - initial contact
Your Name
Web Address

External email - reply
Your Name
Title (optional)
Phone number

Internal email
Your Name
Title (optional)
Phone number

Discussion list email
Your Name (last name optional depending on the group)
Web Address (optional)

Don't put your email address in your signature. It's redundant since recipients already have it in the "From" line of the email. And if you insist on including graphics, such as your logo, be sure to keep them small so they download easily and don't tie up bandwidth. I'm hearing a lot of complaints about email "stationery" and large, unnecessary graphics in email.

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posted by Wendy Kurtz on February 23, 2006 03:40 PM

I've Been Tagged

My friend and fellow PR colleague Doreen Perez tagged me this week so here goes:

Four Jobs I've Had:

Marketing assistant - Ticketmaster
Executive Director - United Way agency
Manager of Special Events - Sprint
Business Consultant

Four Movies I Can Watch Over and Over:

Shawshank Redemption
The Butterfly Effect
About Last Night

Four TV Shows I Love to Watch:
(Thank goodness for a TiVo system that burns dvds for viewing during long flights!)

Without a Trace
Cold Case
Two and a Half Men

Four Places I've Been on Vacation:

St. Croix
Antigua (St. James Club)
Paradise Island, Bahamas (Atlantis)

Four Favorite Dishes:

Tuna Tartar at Hue
Tuna Kobachi bowl at Fuji Sushi
Warm Chicken Salad at Caffe' Positano
My Mom's cranberry relish (even with her recipe I can't make it taste like hers)

Four Websites I Visit Daily:

I don't visit sites daily anymore. I subscribe to RSS feeds, including CNN, which allows me to scan multiple sites (and blogs) in a few short minutes.

Four Places I'd Rather Be:

The beach - any beach
The Bahamas
The sheltie breeders' place

Four Bloggers I'm Tagging:

Deborah Cole-Micek
Frank Lunn
Michelle Anton
Wayne Kelly

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posted by Wendy Kurtz on February 21, 2006 11:06 AM

When to fire a client

One of the joys in owning your own business is the ability to choose the people with whom you will work and the work that you will do. This ability translates into a huge benefit for both you and the client. You get to work with people you enjoy and they get a professional genuinely excited about the work.

On a rare occasion however, you may have a client who turns out to be a total nightmare and you're left pulling your hair out. You've exhausted all options and there's nothing else you can do. It's time to fire the client.

Todd Defren shares his views on firing clients on the PR Squared blog (I was amused to see his thoughts were posted on Valentine's Day.

Kevin Airgid offers some good solutions for "Managing the Monster" over at Creative Behavior.

Fortunately, I've only had to fire a few clients since launching Elizabeth Charles & Associates nearly ten years ago. The first time was a bit scary as I was still getting my business up and running, but years later, I count it as one of the best business decisions I made in those early years. The amount of time and effort saved during the first week after parting company gave me a chance to breathe. Without the unnecessary stress, I was able to think more clearly and focus more attention on my own business. It paid off - I landed two new clients in less than two weeks!

So how do you recognize the signs of a potential client from hell? I'll talk about that next time.

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posted by Wendy Kurtz on February 21, 2006 10:42 AM

About Wendy:
Wendy Kurtz is President of Elizabeth Charles & Associates, a business development and strategy firm that helps executives, authors and professional speakers grow their business and realize their full revenue potential. Learn more about Wendy...
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