Reading into your email signature

I email congressional staff on a daily basis. While I have met some of these individuals, many I have not. So, when addressing someone (especially a staffer from a congressional office) for the first time, I am very polite in my emails. “Mr./Ms. So and so”…”Thank you for your time”…”Sincerely”. This obviously isn’t specific to the gov’t and congress, it’s just polite and respectful in general. But things always change after that initial email.

When you establish a relationship with someone, anyone, the way in which you interact with that person changes. This is perhaps most evident in email exchanges. “Mr./Ms.” changes to first names. The appreciative tone of the email is subdued. And, the signature of the email changes to…sometimes nothing at all.

That last point has got me thinking. What’s in an email signature? Everyone signs off to emails differently, if they sign off at all. Signatures can range from more formal sign offs like “sincerely” to my personal favorite, “best” (as a shortened ‘best regards’). But a trend I’ve seen recently is that there is no signature (and oftentimes no introduction) at all. Does this mean anything or am I just reading into this too much?

No matter how formal or informal, I always sign off on my emails. This, in addition to the stock signature that is attached to every email. If it’s a formal exchange, it’s usually ended with “sincerely”. My everyday sign off is “best”. At the very least, I’ll tack on “-Shane” at the end. This means something to me. When I get an email with no sign off, like that extra return and few letters were that much effort, it just looks off to me. I don’t hold it against anyone, that’s silly, but I do think it’s more professional and/or more personal. Either way, I’ll keep signing my emails with some sort of signature. Will you?


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