EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

I don’t know about you, but the people who write to me and the people I call (when they’re not there) frequently drive me crazy.

Let me start you off with the idea that I am a big fan of FULL outgoing signatures. A full outgoing signature includes your “greeting to use,” your physical address, your phone numbers in the order you want them called, and your email address. I’m not sure what is so hard about this concept, but I rarely see anyone comply. I have to ask myself, do they really want me to contact them? I will share with you that I have an “evil plan” at work. I check all of the messages I get against our membership database to ensure that your directory listing is up to date.

But let me put aside my agenda on your behalf. I do understand that there is a concern about providing too much information with respect to identity theft. Fine. If you are writing to anyone you don’t trust, don’t provide your full contact information. (And, certainly don’t provide your SSAN#, your driver’s license #, or your mother’s maiden name.) I hope that all of you consider me part of your family and believe I can be trusted. (But, don’t send me this information either.)

Let’s move on. For those of you who have voice mail (And who doesn’t?), would it be possible to announce your name? Sure, there is the possibility that I didn’t dial the number correctly, but generally announcing the phone number I have dialed doesn’t really help a lot. What I need to know is if I reached “the party to whom I would like to be speaking.”

The success of my work life has been built over the years by providing “actionable” information. When I communicate with someone, I try to provide them with the tools to respond to my questions without going back and forth.

Why send me a note with a phone number where you can’t be reached? It is amazing to me that office numbers often say: “If it is urgent, please call my cell.” Like a moron, I call the cell only to get another voice mail. At this point, I never know whether to laugh or cry.

Item last for tonight are good news announcements. First, thank you, thank you, thank you for letting me know you have landed. I live for your delightful notes of appreciation.

I already mentioned FULL outgoing signatures, so I won’t beat that dead horse again. (At least not tonight.) But I must ask, have any of you ever used our membership directories? Have you noticed that we like our alumni members to provide their FULL business card information?

Perhaps this is a difficult concept, but many times I only find out the name of your new company and your new title. Sometimes I don’t even get your new title. (Surely there is something on your new business card.) Fortunately we have the Internet and I do a search and try to come up with a physical address. If you have given me a new work phone number, I try to figure out which location is correct for you. If the company only has one office, I’m in good shape, and I use the general phone number for your new directory listing.

Of course, you could make it easy for me by providing this information without my asking, but then what fun would it be?

My life is a quest for completeness. I do hope you will humor me. (And, perhaps you will humor all of the many folks who would also like to help you, if you would only light the way.)

Regards, Matt

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