What Your Email Sign Off Says About You
Illustration by Mr Andrea Mongia
How to not sound like an idiot when corresponding with your colleagues.
Back in the early 1990s when the masses adopted email, there wasn’t much bother about how messages were signed off. Who cares how firstname.lastname@example.org ends an email that will only be read by a receiver who is also their best friend? But then the internet took hold and now the creator of fuzzybear79 is using email to communicate with everyone from the company receptionist to the CEO. (Thank god for company email naming conventions. RIP fuzzybear79.) According to a study by Boomerang, an email productivity app, the sign off most likely to illicit a response is “Thanks in advance”. A bit needy, perhaps, but a damn sight more appropriate for the office than, say, an emoji with a smiling face with heart eyes. Don’t be that overly-familiar guy. In fact, don’t be any of these guys…
The wannabe continental
Here comes Carlo, swaggering into your emails at 9.01am on a Monday with “Buongiorno!” He drops in that he’s wearing in new boots from Officine Creative. He talks about having an “aperitivo” when everyone else is going for a pint. He tells you about regional action plans and company-wide initiatives and then ends it with a jaunty “Ciao!”. Who is this worldly gentleman from the acquisitions department? A quick Google will tell you all you need to know: he is no demigod sending an email from the front line of Pitti. He’s actually called Carl and he’s working in a Portakabin in Crawley.
The profound philosopher
You know that guy who uses a thumbed copy of The Alchemist to woo women? Well, look out for him in your emails. He’ll be the one ending his correspondence with “Not all those who wander are lost”. The guy responding “The future depends on what we do in the present” when all you want is a date for the Q4 briefing. He brings his own Ayurvedic tea bags to meetings and thinks it’s OK to walk around the office barefoot (“Guys! have you not heard of earthing?”). Never let this non-conformist clown near the stereo unless you want to listen to Fairport Convention for the next seven hours.
The man who couldn't give a damn
Kevin in procurement wants to read an episode review of Narcos and eat his Subway sandwich. He does not have time for inane questions about budgets, which are most definitely not part of his job spec. He offers two terse sentences and signs off with “Hope this helps” – a clear signal for everyone to back the hell off and sort it out themselves. Kevin receives another email on this subject but this time, he doesn't bother to sign off at all, he just finishes his sentence and punches “Send”. He is releasing himself from the claws of responsibility. You will not coming knocking at his door again.
The overly-familiar guy
We should all be very clear on this by now: no kisses in a professional email. No emojis in a professional email. But there’s always one, isn’t there? Not sent by mistake, nor a hangover from a weekend of sending personal emails from your Gmail. Nope. This dolt wants to be Your Friend. There are no boundaries here. Intimate email sign offs come in many forms: xoxo, hugging emojis, heart-eye emojis and that unequivocal indicator of stalker potential, attachments of cat memes. This is the kind of person who consistently asks about your weekend plans and the kind of person you absolutely shouldn’t tell unless you want them arriving for breakfast on Saturday morning.