Attention users of those e-mail signoffs, if I want to print out your e-mail, I will. No stock tagline will stop me. And, I’m not alone. In her article "When 'Best' isn't good enough," Judith Newman quotes the writer Marjorie Ingall's reaction to receiving this message – “that makes me want to print out the e-mail.” Perhaps if you asked nicely, or in your own words, my reaction would be different.
Newman’s article goes beyond poking fun at idealist e-mail signatures and onto how what we say in the last line of our e-mail messages says a lot about us. Newman put it best:
In a medium where it is often oddly difficult to interpret tone, where the lines of friendship, love and business are easily muddied, and where people are sometimes a little too eager to shine brightly in the drab sludge of daily missives, something as seemingly trivial as an e-mail signoff can loom large. It can be a clue to both the personality of the sender and the standing that the recipient has in the sender's social universe. It can enlighten, amuse and enrage — sometimes all at once.
Newman’s message is simple: pay attention to how you sign off. Pay attention, and consider what is helpful to your reader. Note to people sending e-mails from their corporate accounts – there must be an alternative to a paragraph of (CYA) legal jargon which no one reads anyways.
Signing off, Steve
If you have received this post in error, too bad. If it contains proprietary information not intended for the recipient but for the person whose e-mail address we screwed up, then please securely delete, trash and remove from here to eternity and whatever you do – don’t print it out on anything but 100% recycled paper – unless you have considered otherwise. Thank you.