Dear Baird’s CMC,
I want to create an email signature for my professional correspondence. Since my company does not have a standardised format, I need some help. I have seen various email signatures using different styles and containing varied components. Which format is the best? Any tips?
– Stumped by Signature
Dear Stumped by Signature,
Deciding to create and use an email signature is an excellent decision! It goes a long way in building a reputation for professionalism and conveying key information about you to email recipients. Here are some top tips from Chris Nial, our resident internet communications expert:
1) Key info: Your name; your company and designation; your preferred contact details.
2) Delineate: Use the standard signature symbol (–) to indicate where your email signature begins.
3) Less is more: Four lines is an acceptable length. Use pipes (│) or colons (:) to separate text while condensing space. Do not include extensive details or use full sentences. When it comes to contact details, give out the phone number/website/email address that you prefer to be contacted at. Do not give too many options for each category.
4) Shareability: Give out Skype/IM/Facebook details only if they are pertinent in your line of work and if you’re comfortable sharing them – remember, everyone who receives an email (or is forwarded an email) from your account will have access to this information. Is this information appropriate to give to the kind of people you email?
5) Links: If you’re including your website, include the full URL instead of inserting a hyperlink. This will ensure that the recipient gets the address.
6) Keep it simple: Steer clear of complicated formatting and graphics. Different email clients and services process complex data differently, so everyone may not see the signature in the format you want. Try testing the signature on as many email clients as possible before going live with it if you’re keen to use HTML formatting – this will help eliminate issues.
7) Quotes: If you plan to include a quote at the end, think about it carefully. Try and mke sure it cannot be misinterpreted or seen as politically incorrect/offensive by anyone.
8) Mobile: If you send emails from your phone frequently, do update the signature on your device too.