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Signatures matter: Editor's Notes #290
June 26, 2019

Words, once they are printed, have a life of their own.
—Carol Burnett

In this issue:

1. Why signatures matter
2. Tickled my funny bone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt

1. Why signatures matter
Signatures matter. When you put your name to something, you endorse what precedes your signature. When you recommend someone, you stand behind the work that person does. The signature you use in a written recommendation matters.

Unsolicited recommendations are gold. These often come as word-of-mouth (WOM) friend to friend. Reputable studies put the trust in WOM advertising in the 90% range. When my friend tells me with enthusiasm how happy she is about the service she received from a repairman, I ask for the repairman’s contact information, and I call him first the next time an appliance is broken. I bet you do something similar.

When people like me have Web-based businesses, we also rely on WOM recommendations. The difference is that the people making the recommendations are doing so online, and they do not personally know those who read their recommendations. Most of us are at least a little skeptical in cyberspace, and we should be. But there is still value in personal recommendations.

One way to evaluate the truth of a recommendation is the amount of information in the signature. Here are some fictional signatures. Consider which you would be most inclined to trust.
  • Anonymous
  • Anonymous. Canada
  • P. B.
  • P.B. Canada
  • P. Brock
  • Paul Brock
  • Paul Brock. Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Paul Brock. Author of My very own book.
  • Paul Brock. Author of My very own book, Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • Paul Brock. Author of My very own book, Vancouver British Columbia. (imagine that as a live link)
When someone offers a recommendation about you as a writer, ask for permission to use as much signature information as the person will give you. I also often ask for a photo. I do not always get as much as I’d like, and I’ll even take simply "Anonymous", but I know how weak that will be.

Likewise, when I recommend someone. I give as much information as I can without compromising my own privacy boundaries. After all, if I’m really enthusiastic about the service or product I’ve received, I should be proud to be seen to stand fully behind it.


2.Tickled my funny bone
Sign in a field: The farmer allows walkers to cross the field, but the bull charges.


3. Interesting Web site
The link below is about writing a reference for a job. With a little imagination you can use the ideas to write a recommendation for a product or a service.

4. Writing prompt
What product or service has impressed you lately? Write a recommendation or a thank you note to the provider and sign it.

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