WHAT’S IN A SIGNATURE LINE?
by Barbara Beckwith
First, for those who don’t know: a signature line is text that automatically appears at the bottom of every email you send or respond to.
John McDaid uses different “sig lines” in four contexts. He uses one for personal emails that end with just his name and twitter handle; a second with his address and phone; a third account, used for his university teaching job, has a sig line that includes preferred pronouns plus department info, and a fourth for emails focused on his fiction. The last two serve as functional equivalents of business cards.
John recommends including a link to your latest publication, where a receiver can choose to click on a link, or not. Miriam Stein’s sig line includes a link to her “evergreen” title (a book that’s still relevant): Make Your Voice Matter with Lawmakers: No Experience Necessary.
Ken Wachsberger (Michigan member) establishes his expertise in multiple areas in six lines and links:
Ken Wachsberger, The Book Coach
Vice President of Marketing, National Speakers Association-Michigan
Contract Advisor, National Writers Union
#1 International Bestselling Author and Editor: You’ve Got the Time: How to Write and Publish That Book in You
Other books by Ken here and here
I’d be sad to see you go. But if you want to, you can unsubscribe from here.
One writer included in every email, an attached file (her book cover). After I told her I kept wasting time opening each attachments, thinking it would be something new, the writer’s sig line now includes just a link to that book).
Some people appreciate sig lines that show the sender’s multi-dimensionality, offer links to explore, include quotes that inspire. Beware, though, of annoying the receiver by using overly fancy formatting, by coming off as self-aggrandizing, by including quotes that may be considered preachy or that simply take up too much space. One writer included in every email an attached file (her book cover). After I told her I kept wasting time opening each attachment, thinking it would be something new, the writer’s sig line now includes just a link to the book.
A recent conversation with the Steering Committee has revised my practice: When I send new members our “Welcome to the Boston Chapter” email, I shall no longer preface it with a personal greeting that includes my 5-line sig line, which includes a quote I consider inspiring. I’ve learned that it’s “inappropriate” to do so when I’m acting in a professional capacity, writing on behalf of our Steering Committee. My sig line will still pop up automatically, but I can simply delete it.
As for quotes, I personally appreciate those that convey a sender’s perspective and values, such as one by a writer friend who quotes Mark Twain, Red Smith, and herself — “Never accept that you are who you are ‘in spite of your circumstances.’ You are who you are because of your circumstances.” -Karen Ford
So I’ll end this professional tip with a quote from the signature line I use when I send unofficial emails: “There are consequences to how we see, what we see, and also what we allow to remain unseen” Jenny Xie