No Sign-Off? No Big Deal?

It’s common to whip off an email with a question or thought and click send. If you can send a text like that, why not an email? Well, let’s talk about why email is different than texting in that regard.

Email is Not Texting

Your sign-off gives you the opportunity to wrap-up the tone and intent of your email. This allows clarity in your message and to make sure you leave a positive impression.

Email and texting are two entirely different platforms. Each with their own limitations — and expectations of use. For example you wouldn’t use texting for business like you do with family and friends.

Same with email. You don’t email as though you are texting. And you don’t email for business like you do with family and friends.

What happens when you don’t sign your name and/or include a sign-off in an email? When you don’t sign your name you risk being perceived as abrupt or impersonal.

With texting, a sign-off isn’t expected because it is a brief and to-the-point platform. Email, however, is not that and a sign-off is expected to put the final touch on your email’s meaning.

Not a Big Deal

When discussing this topic with clients, I have been asked “What’s the big deal? You know who sent the email by looking at the From: field. Why do I have to sign my name?”

The statement above is accurate. We all look at the From: field to see who has sent us an email. With close family and friends, you probably can get away with leaving your name off. They know you and will hopefully have the ability to correctly assume your intent and tone.

The difference is how your message is perceived by those who don’t know you that well. Remember the no eye-contact, lack of body language or tone of voice issue I mention all the time?

Without these cues, intent and tone can be misunderstood. It happens all day, every day, thousands of times across the Internet. Why risk misunderstandings when all it takes is a couple extra keystrokes?

By adding a closing and your name, you “wrap things up” into a nice little package. What this accomplishes is ensuring your message gets across with less room for misunderstandings or negative perceptions.

Closings Make a Huge Difference

For example, when asking for assistance, always close with a TIA, Thanks!, Appreciate your support!. By including a statement that reflects your sincere gratitude for the time that is spent helping you, you are viewed as someone folks want to communicate with.

Included with your closing should also be your name. Why resist typing the extra 5-10 characters to type your name when doing so does nothing but offer a positive impression?

Especially when you need folks to help you out. Whether it is a website or provider that you are contacting via email, that impression can make a huge difference.

Something as little as not having a courtesy closing can determine when they’ll get to your request. I know that I do that when I’m buried with inquiries. It’s called prioritizing your time.

When there is no name or a sign-off, many times that email lends to a terse or demanding tone. I eventually will respond, but only after responding to those who approach me with courtesy.

Can adding your name change the tone?

You bet! How you choose to sign-off, as well as how you type your name, sets the level formality and courtesy for every email you send. For example, Charlie or Charles, Susan or Sue, Harold or Harry, Judith or Judi.

One is formal — the other isn’t. This little clue assists the other side to determine your intended tone.

Email sign-offs are just another one of those little things that add up to making a huge difference when in comes to email. Including a closing and sign-off is part and parcel of good communications.

And, yes, there’s an article for that: E-mail Sign-off Considerations.

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