What do our emails look like?

I spent a few minutes just now looking back on some of the emails I’ve received in the last few weeks (I get a lot, but that’s hardly unusual). Here are a few things which struck me:

1. Horrible “email disclaimers” are continuing to disappear. I could only find one email in the last week which ended up by telling me how it was confidential and intended solely for the person or organisation to whom it is addressed, and that any views expressed in this message are those of the individual sender, and generally suggesting that the sender works for a pompous organisation which is going to be hard work to do business with.

2. Statutory information continues to be widely ignored. If you work for a limited company, your emails should state the company name, registration number, place of registration and registered office address. The majority of business emails do not have this information, either because companies don’t know that it’s a legal requirement, or don’t care. It’s always amusing to find an email which does have a boring and unnecessary email disclaimer but doesn’t have the statutory company information.

3. People still put the wrong information in their signatures. Some folks put their email address in their signature block (unnecessary, it’s in the “From:” field) but don’t include their company website! Several times a week I find myself carefully highlighting the domain part of an email address so I can copy it into my browser and visit a website. A direct telephone number would be nice too (and please say it’s direct to avoid embarrassment).

4. Like it or not, “Hi” has become the standard salutation in emails. It may be overly-casual for some tastes, but almost anything else seems awkward. However, I did receive one the other day at 9am which started off “Morning Chris”, which I did feel had more than the usual obligation to respond promptly.

5. Conversely, there’s no great way to end an email. There’s a bit of an online campaign at the moment about not using “best…” anything, whether it’s “regards”, “wishes” or whatever. I don’t have any strong feelings, but as far as possible I’m trying to wean myself off using any sign-off at all. It’s surprisingly liberating.

OK, let’s find out what we all do. Here’s a poll. It’ll take you 60 seconds, and it’s quite anonymous. Results next week.

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