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Give Me A Clue

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There are few people who are so well known that they can be addressed by one name. Madonna. Maradona. Gisele. Obama. And if you go back a few centuries, Shakespeare and Virgil.

To be that well known, you have to have done something pretty amazing. Sold millions of records. Run a country. Written world-class plays. Been one of the most recognisable models ever to hit a catwalk.

Yet, every day I get emails and phone calls from people who assume that I have a memory like a telephone directory – and by telling me their first name, I’ll remember everything about them. People who will ring and say, “Hi Lisa, this is Emma, and I wondered whether you’d had time to consider the idea I sent you yesterday.”

Calls like this prove tricky on several levels. Firstly, because nearly every agency I’ve ever worked with has employed someone called Emma. Secondly, because over the phone I have absolutely no visual clues as to which Emma it is on the end of the line. And thirdly, because I’ve probably been sent a dozen emails by Emmas, with ideas, and I’m not sure which of those she’s referring to.

So, a plea. First of all, please tell me your surname. Secondly, please tell me which agency you work for. And thirdly, if you are emailing, please make sure that at the end of every email, you have a sign-off that includes not only the above, but your phone number.

That way, I will be able not only to hold of you quickly to respond to an idea or to locate you if we are meeting in a crowded restaurant/market/bar. But, with any luck, if I see your surname every time you send me an email, your identity and your ideas might stick more easily in my head. Worth a go, no?

Post Author

Lisa Grainger has worked for The Times – from the arts and news desks to The Times Magazine and LUXX – since 1995. When she isn’t working as deputy editor of Luxx, Lisa freelances for publications from Departures and Travel + Leisure to The Times, pens a monthly interview with a leading British craftsman for Walpole, and is sustainability editor at Country & Town House. She has won awards for her travel writing on Africa, and is a regular contributor to panels on conservation and luxury travel. Her compilation of African myths and legends, Stories Gogo Told Me, funds schooling for orphaned girls through the CAMFED charity.


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