Email Signature Etiquette – Keep It Short & Sweet

During this Onam festival season, I received many emails wishing a happy and prosperous Onam. While the content fo such emails is just a single line, the signatures were more than 10 lines! It looks more of self promotion email rather than wishing me a great Onam!

Few years ago I wrote a post about communicating emotion in email & email etiquette, which I hope have covered most points to be considered while writing emails. Today, let me add on it the email signature ettiquette that we can follow.

Email Signature is not the “About Me” Section

Long email signatures include name, titie, organization name and address, various telephones, fax, email, web, blog, residence full address, residence telephone, instant mesenger IDs, tag line, request line, etc.. Do they think that email signature is just like an About Me page in a blog or website?

You will agree with me that very long signatures in emails are irritating. When the signature takes up more space than the message itself, it won’t clear to the eye what it should pay attention to, especially when using the HTML, colorful and flashy formatting.

The prime reason for including a signature in email is to let people briefly know who you are and how to contact you. If you communicate regularly ina group or friend circle, there is no need of all such information in that signature.


How to Create Your Signature?

Keep your signature down to 4 to 6 lines of text. They are perfect for conveying important information, in short, sweet and unobtrusive.

An email signature typically includes name, title, company, simple contact information and the URL.

Many e-mail clients such as Microsoft Outlook can be set up to automatically attach a default signature to the end of all your outgoing messages (including replies). Some cleints provide options to have separate signature of initial emails and replies or forwards.

Don’t provide your street address in the email signatures. Why would you want to announce to the world where you live? Whover want to send you a gift can get it from your blog or website! If you really want to share you full contact information with a group of friends or relatives, you may send a separate mail for that. Otherwise, you can also include detailed contact information on your blog or website.

No need to include your email address. The email is automatically noted at the top of every email you send.

Use the standard signature delimiter. The standard that is widely used on Usenet and Gmail, is “– ” (two dashes followed by a white-space character) on a line by itself. But nowadays, the separator is not given much importance in the HTML email world.

For example, my official signature ( looks like:

Sreekandakumar Pillai
Zetta Technologies

All official contact information is provided at website, including email, phone number and even a contact form.

For personal emails, I prefer no signature or the simple signature below.

Sreekandakumar Pillai

Depending on the business and the department you work for, and the audience of the email, you may need to have different signatures – one for friends, one for colelagues, one for intermal customers, one for external cleints, one for senior management, etc.. For example, if you are in sales and sending an email to your prospect, you will want to include more contact channel information in it.

What do you think? How does your email signature look like?

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