Talking Chairs
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Hyphenation — worth a second look

It’s a gift and a curse. PR Daily readers, you know what I’m talking about. Even when you’re not looking for them, you see them. I’m talking about spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors on signs, in movie credits, on magazine covers. They’re everywhere, and we can’t help but notice them. Last week, I drove past a billboard that said, “Your coworking headquarters.” I had to look twice to make sure I understood what the sign meant. That billboard brought to mind my least favorite punctuation mark, the hyphen, and how hyphens are generally used to avoid...
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25 clever email subject lines

After my recent post listing 19 terrible email subject lines, readers asked for a list of examples of good email subject lines. Considering that readers decide whether to read or trash your email in about three seconds, well-written subject lines are essential. If you can throw in a little mystery or humor, that works, too. Here are some great examples: Don’t let your spam box come between us Need an app for that? Show me the writing . . . 8 reasons not to read this email A blatant pitch (that you should open NOW) Made you look Athletes use steroids . . . entrepreneurs...
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14 inspiring quotes from “Downton ...

“Downton Abbey” is the wildly popular Masterpiece Classic period drama that follows the the Crawley family and their servants in post-Edwardian England. It is one of the most widely watched television dramas in the world. I run hot and cold with this series. I start watching it but stop in the middle of the season, because it becomes too much like a soap opera. Then I’ll start watching again out of sheer curiosity. Despite the outlandish plots and out-of-character character motivations, what also keeps me coming back is the dialogue. Often, the best lines of the show...
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Me, myself, and I: deciphering pronouns

Which of the following sentences is correct? 1. Please copy Robert and I on that email. 2. Please copy Robert and me on that email. 3. Please copy Robert and myself on that email. If you’re not sure of the answer, you’re not the only one. The misuse of pronouns—I, me, myself, he, himself, her, herself, them, themselves—can make your writing seem “juvenile and nonstandard.” Or so says one of my old grammar books. Let’s examine a few rules for using pronouns so we can cut through the confusion and write for grown-ups. Pronouns are words used in place of nouns....
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Is that one word or two?

Lately I’ve been having trouble with compound words, such as timeframe, payoff, and placeholder. Are these one word or two? After 10-plus years as a professional writer and editor, shouldn’t I know the rules for compound words by now? Why am I still asking myself these questions? As it turns out, the rules for compound words aren’t straightforward. (Or is that straight forward?) “Compound words generally develop over time through use. As people continue to use two or more previously unrelated words together, the combination gains acceptance. Unfortunately, this...
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7 tips to help you remember names

There’s no easy way to admit this, but I am horrible with names. I shake hands with someone I’ve just met, the person says his or her name, and within 10 seconds I’ve forgotten the name. And since I’ve just started a new job, I am beyond frustrated with my memory problem. Grrrrr. As PR professionals, we all know the importance of building rapport and maintaining relationship with clients. That can be difficult when you can’t remember the name of the guy sitting next to you at lunch. Never fear. There are plenty of techniques and tricks from business pros and...
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39 more ways to close your emails

My post from last week, “39 ways to close your emails,” discussed how to put a little personality into email signoffs. Why use “sincerely” or “thanks” when you can use “stay tuned” or “You don’t need to see my credentials”? PR Daily readers added a few of their own favorite closing lines: 1. Allons-y 2. Be well 3. Caring is what we do 4. Carpe diem 5. Enthusiastically 6. Excellent, Smithers 7. Forward 8. Get to the choppa 9. Hasta la vista, baby! 10. Have a magical day 11. I am 12. In gratitude 13. Love is in the details 14. May the force be with...
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39 ways to close your emails

Tired of closing your emails with “Thanks” or “Sincerely”? Want to keep your email sign-offs informal, yet polite? Or maybe you want to inject a little personality into your emails. I once received an email from an outside contractor that ended with, “I stand ever ready to assist you.” Nice sentiment, but odd given our working relationship. The email sign-off—more formally called a valediction—can be tricky. It should be consistent the overall tone of your email and reflect your relationship with the recipient. Choose your closing words carefully. Here are...