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Email Signature Block Etiquette

I was involved in a discussion today about Email signature blocks and how obnoxious some of them are. I saw one today, with literally, an entire page of certifications and stuff. I’ve written about this before, but it never hurts for a little refresher.

Although the individuals reading my blog shouldn’t have this problem and know how to write email signature blocks right?

Let’s look at some best practices, and some other common stuff --

  1. Start you signature block with “-- “. This allows email clients that correctly parse emails to collapse or grey out this area.
  2. 4 lines or less.
  3. Phone number, Primary, maybe fax (if you depend on the fax technology)
  4. No email address (If you are sending an email, what’s the point in having your email in your signature block? They already HAVE your email address!)
  5. Webpage (okay, this is fine, but keep it simple)
  6. No quotes. If I want a witty quote, I’ll go find one. Your email should tell me a lot about you, not the quote.
  7. Instant Messenger name (If you are the kind of person that would rather communicate via that medium, as opposed to phone.
  8. Disclaimer -- The jury is still out on this “Disclaimer, legal copy” nonsense. Has it one of these ever been Enforced in Court? Not that I know of.
  9. Company Name -- Good idea to have
  10. Address? No. I can go look it up, or email you back to get it. 99% of the emails you send will not need the address. Besides, if I feel you’ll need my address, I’ll send it to you, along with a short url of Google Maps on how to get here.
  11. Logo, multi colors, html, and various other nonsense? No.

Keep it simple. Signature block reads:


Joel Esler | Sourcefire | gtalk: | |

Short, sweet, to the point. You know how to get a hold of me via 4 mediums. Phone, IM, Twitter, and of course, Email.


Roger said…
while I dont put an email address in my own sig, I dont think its as big a sin as you think. Email is forwarded. A lot. On the mail system I use the original from only shows the Name when it is forwarded. email in the sig/footer is then useful.
JBA said…
One reason to have your email address: If you regularly post to mailing lists that hide the sender's email. So it's not all black and white.
Joel Esler said…
I agree with that.
Edward said…
Huh? I can't get to yu oby phone with that e-mail sig.
Joel Esler said…
Cause I don't want people to call me. I want people to email me so I have a record of it.
Joel Esler said…
Cause I don't want people to call me. I want people to email me so I have a record of it.

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