Modern Manners Guy tackles the dicey question of email sign offs. What's considered appropriate? Click to find out.
This past week, I had the tremendous opportunity to speak about dining etiquette to a large group of college students in New York. After my talk, a young graduate student asked me to comment on proper email signatures. I have to admit, I thought I was the only one who found some people's choices of email sign offs odd.
The best email signatures are a simple "Thanks" followed by the name and contact information of the sender. I for one, always add my cell number, website(s), and Twitter handle just because I want the person to be able to get a hold of me and to better understand who I am and what I do.
On a daily basis, I get emails from Modern Manners Guy fans all over the world, from people of various cultures, occupations, education levels, and ages. And there have been many times when someone's email sign off has left me a little...well, confused. For example, the other day I received an email from a gentleman whose email sign off was "Tuck and Roll" followed by his name, email, office number, etc. I'm all for a creative sign off -- when it makes sense -- like "Ciao" if you're Italian, or "Peace" if you fancy yourself a bit earthy, but "Tuck and Roll"? What the heck does that mean? I'm a curious guy, so I asked him.
He said it referred to fire safety rules -- if you're faced with a fire, you tuck and roll to get it out and stay safe. Okay...well...yeah...but who wants to think of being on fire?
I'm not going to hold it against him for having a little personality on email, but honestly, this one missed the mark. Also, think of it this way: If your sign off is a bit too creative, that's the thing that people will remember about you, not the content of your email. And that's exactly what happened with this guy. I certainly remembered the silly "Tuck and Roll" thing, but not the actual purpose of our communication.
Email sign offs are about knowing the person you are writing to. If I was talking to a professional client or colleague, I wouldn't sign off "Love, Richie" or "Tuck and Roll, Richie." I'd keep it simple with "Sincerely" (especially if the letter is of a serious or professional matter) or "Best" or the more casual "Cheers," as my friends across the pond like to say.
Bottom line: Your email sign off should reflect the person to whom you are writing. What you send to your best friend should be very different than what you send to a potential employee or your boss. You have to adjust accordingly. As time goes on and you feel more comfortable with the person and your relationship with them, it's okay to loosen up your sign off. However, make sure that when you do that, it's still something tasteful and appropriate. Not something that will leave them wondering, "What the heck does that mean?"
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