Last Impressions: what your email signature says about you

The creator of this graph sampled her email inbox for signatures and arranged them according to levels of familiarity and naturality.

The creator of this graph sampled her email inbox for signatures and arranged them according to levels of familiarity and naturality. Image from Liz Danzico.

So today I found myself wondering about email signatures for some reason. After doing some googling around, I realized I wasn’t the only person who put some added thought into those two or three words that precede my name when I’m writing an email.

This graph arranges email “signatures” based on levels of familiarity (between the author and recipient) and naturality (whether or not the pattern of speech comes across as natural or stiff). And, although based solely upon the creator’s own email inbox, it looks like a pretty spot-on analysis of the more popular email sign-offs.

From the original blog post:

Forget what you’ve heard about first impressions; it’s the last impressions that count. Last impressions — whether they’re with customer service, an online shopping experience, or a blind date — are the ones we remember. They’re the ones that keep us coming back. But there’s one kind of final impression that people seem to forget.

The closing line of email — that line that you write before you type your name — has been all but forgotten. Go take a look at your inbox: you might be astonished at how little attention people pay to the closing lines when writing email. This underrated rhetorical device is so frequently disregarded that many people have the gall to use an automatic closing line attached to their email signature file.

Closing lines vary from the highly self-conscious (“My warmest regards,”) to the impersonal sig file to the charmless (“Best,”).

I have to say, I lean towards “All best,” in most situations, simply because it sounds natural and is versatile — it can be formal in certain situations and informal in others. Although, I have to disagree with the notion that “Best” is a charmless sign-off. Personal preference and all.

What’s your experience with email signatures? What’s your go to sign-off? Have you given much thought to the idea that the last few words of your message could change the entire tone of your email or letter? This blog post is going to give me a lot to think about the next time I need to send out a resume or submission letter.

All best,

Tim

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1 Comment

Filed under Author Tips, Random, Submissions, Writing

One response to “Last Impressions: what your email signature says about you

  1. Hi Tim,

    Enjoyed reading your post. I often sign off from an email with ‘Thanks’ but sometimes it doesn’t seem entirely suitable.

    I like ‘All the best’ – will use that one!

    I recently wrote a post myself about voice and tone in emails, and content in general. Thought it would be worth sharing with you > http://contentthoughts.com/2013/05/30/little-things-big-impact/

    All the best 🙂
    Rachel

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