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Doodled signatures leave a poor mark: Lessons from US Treasury secretary-designate Lew’s poor penmanship

By Patrick Stafford | 11 January, 2013

With smartphones and tablets now the default communication tools of the day, many entrepreneurs don’t think about whether their handwriting is any good – but a recent controversy in the United States suggests that might be a mistake.

Treasury secretary-designate Jack Lew has been the target of criticism after revealing his signature, which is set to appear on all US paper money, is simply a series of the letter “o”.

Barack Obama even issued a statement shortly after the controversy broke, telling the public that Lew “assures me that he is going to work to make at least one letter legible in order not to debase our currency”.

The controversy is mostly tongue-in-cheek, (current secretary Timothy Geithner had to work on his handwriting as well), but the incident raises a key issue in an age of digital communication – do entrepreneurs need to have good handwriting?

The answer is a little complicated.

“Without giving it too much scientific thought, my gut feeling would be that if you have the power – you can do whatever you like,” says image consultant and founder of Image Group International, Jon-Michail.

“Your signature can be a squiggle, like a lot of the signatures of powerful people, and it won’t make one iota of difference.”

However, there’s a caveat here. While many people in powerful positions can get away with such a signature, Jon-Michail says it’s a little different if you’re the head of an SME, or if you’re trying to raise money.

Having poor handwriting could leave a bad impression, especially if other parts of your presentation aren’t up to scratch.

“If everything else is not okay, then the little things do matter. People will look for things to pick up, especially in a political or corporate environment,” he says.

Jon-Michail makes a number of comparisons, he says most actors have terrible signatures and yet aren’t affected in their careers. He says entrepreneurs need to focus on the important aspects of their personality when making a pitch, or raising money – if you don’t have those right, then handwriting will become a problem.

“If they’re not getting the main parts of the business in position first, then handwriting will become more important.”

Note: This media article originally appeared on January 11, 2013 in SmartCompany.com.au. Click on the link to view article : http://www.smartcompany.com.au/media/053647-why-your-doodled-signature-might-leave-a-poor-mark-lessons-from-us-treasury-secretary-designate-lew-s-poor-penmanship-2.html

 

Copyright © 2013 SmartCompany.com.au

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The ImageMaker is a blog that provides short, succinct articles reviewing the key editorial, commentary and opinion pieces in the major international news outlets each week with specialised commentary from an image / brand management and entrepreneurship perspective. Our coverage ranges from front-page news, to Business, Economy, Tech & Science, Life & Culture and anything else that we see fit to comment on. The ImageMaker is also a place for dialogue - we feel that news services today should be interactive and should involve readers. That’s why we offer a prominent space on every page for our regular readers, for up-and-coming players in politics, business, sport or entertainment, and for people who find themselves in interesting places at interesting times, to share their views. Stay informed, and save time.
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