|Date:||June 6, 2007 / year-entry #202|
|Summary:||All too often I see email like this: From: X Is there a way to turn off Q? Thanks, X Support Professional Microsoft Product Support Services Tel: +123 456 7890 Extension 1234 Email: X@microsoft.com In case I am unavailable and you need urgent assistance, you can contact the following people: My Backup: Y, Phone: +123...|
All too often I see email like this:
Not only is your email signature is longer than your message, it's also more colorful and makes greater use of boldface, so the reader's eye is going to be attracted to the signature and miss your question entirely. (This is actually a rather subdued version. I've seen much worse, with animated images in the signature.)
Don't let your message get lost in the medium. The email signature should not draw attention away from your message. What's more, it shouldn't convey information that the reader doesn't need to know. First of all, we already know your name and email address since it's in the message header. And since this message was sent internally, we can easily look up your job title, division, telephone number, and manager's name, and the huge disclaimer at the bottom is completely unnecessary since the message is internal and wasn't sent to any of your support customers.
The only information in the signature that we didn't already know (or couldn't already find out) is your backup, and I suspect this question could have gotten by without even that.
Some time ago, I had a hobby of collecting hideous email signatures and organized nearly 200 of them into an online "email signature museum". If things get slow, I could trot those out.
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