Strategist - The FindLaw Law Firm Business Blog

Your Email Sign Off Matters, So Make it Better With These Tips

You might not give a lot of thought to how you sign off on your emails, but your "Sincerely," or "peace" can have a big impact on how you are perceived.

There are plenty of lists out there giving you examples of how to close an email. Forbes alone offers 146 ways, split amongst two lists. We think you're smart enough that you don't need to see every iteration of "Best regards" -- please don't use "Rgds" though. Instead, here are some general tips that should govern your email sign off, whatever phrase you use to end it.

Use the Appropriate Level of Formality

Your email signature should always be appropriate for the audience. If you chose to use a generic sign off, the kind that is automatically added to every email, it should be conventional and broad enough that it would fit find at the end of an email to both your best friend and your boss. If you personally end each email, tailor your sign off to the individual recipients. "See ya later" may work for your bestie, but not opposing counsel.

Keep it Brief

This should be the principal governing everything you write in emails. The average person gets swamped with emails -- most workers see well over 100 in a day. Every extra line and extraneous word is a drain on someone's limited attention span, especially when it comes to email signatures.

Minimal is best.

Don't Use Quotes

These are the epitome of unnecessary. That quote by Mark Twain may be clever, but it's also just clutter. If a quote is relevant to your conversation, feel free to drop it in the body of your email.

Avoid Large Logos or Blocks of Contact Info

Having your title and contact info as part of your email's automatic signature is great. It's like attaching a business card to every communication. The same is true for a small logo identifying your firm or business. But keep these things limited, lest you drown your recipient in a list of your titles, phone number, email address, physical address, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus, personal website, corporate website, etc. Try to keep the contact information, including title, to three items or less.

If you want an omnibus way for people to connect with you, consider including a link to a personal launch page -- a website such as your firm profile, LinkedIn account or About.me page -- where you can include your full contact information and updates on your various projects.

Ease off the Legalese

Nothing says lawyer like an three word email -- "lunch at noon?" -- followed by four paragraphs of boilerplate legal disclaimers. Instead of having every email default to disclaimers, consider having a single file set aside where you can copy and paste relevant ones over when needed. If that's too much work, at least keep it in a smaller font and perhaps a lighter color of text.

Follow this advice and your email signature should stand out -- for the right reasons.

Related Resources: