A reader writes:
I know you’ve covered what doesn’t go into your email signature–funny colors, weird fonts, religious exhortations, almost any quote of any kind, etc. But from your point of view, what DOES go in? For example, my own mandated signature includes a long line saying “If you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to email or call me at [our phone number],” a “Best Regards,” my name, my position, followed by our company name, full mailing address, both phone numbers, fax number, Skype ID(!), a link to our email and the company site, three additional lines about the company, and that long bit about the email being confidential.
I think this is horribly unwieldy, and my boss (who set up the signatures) insists that we delete the entire thing before sending intra-office emails (which is fine by me, frankly). I am of the opinion that a closing, name, position, and possibly phone number and/or company name would be more than sufficient. What are your thoughts? I feel like this may vary by country/region/industry, but is there a basic standard?
Ugh, unwieldy email signatures! Why do they exist?
The ideal email signature is:
company and/or company website
phone number (optional; varies by context)
And sure, in some contexts, their mailing address or social media links would belong there too.
It’s even fine to add one additional line with a link to something of the sender’s — a link to subscribe to their email list or order their book or whatever.
But multiple phone numbers, Skype, and a fax number? Too much, unless you’re in a context where that stuff is constantly needed. Three lines about the company? Unnecessary and probably unread. And the long email disclaimer that no one pays attention to? There are contexts where the disclaimer isn’t inappropriate (although it’s often used when it doesn’t need to be), but there’s no reason they need to be as long as they often are.
When the signature is longer than the average email, that’s a bad sign.
And you might point out to your boss that the fact that he doesn’t want this particular signature used within the office because it’s so unwieldy is a signal about how much it will be appreciated outside of it.