Tag Archives: email

The greatest email you’ll ever send.

The Greatest Email You'll Ever Send.

The Greatest Email You’ll Ever Send. 

I was recently on a plane. This isn’t unusual for me as I’m on a plane a few times a week. I proudly use “Road Warrior” as a description of myself because I’m in travel, so you can say I practice my trade all the time.

Like most road warriors, I’m always surrounded by people, though amazingly, it’s still very easy to be lonely while traveling. Days, weeks and months pass (airline miles and hotel points rack up) and time seems to disappear before your eyes. While I consider myself pretty good about keeping in touch with people (via phone, social media, etc.) I started to think about all the things I’d want people to know in the event, well, that I wasn’t around anymore. I know, it’s a bit morbid so hear me out. In the event you weren’t here on this earth tomorrow, what would you want the important people in your life to know?

So, I started to type an email. I imagined not being able to ever speak to anyone ever again. I typed and poured my heart out and I kept typing. I’m not going to give you all the details, but the evolution of the email was pretty amazing and what I’m going to do with the email might interest you.

I started with my wife. I reminded her about all the things I love and admire about her.  I reminisced about when we met, how I felt, etc. Mostly, I thanked her and told her how much I appreciated her, because I don’t do that enough. I imagined we were having the last conversation we’d ever have, and these were my notes. I also reminded her of my washboard abs and long flowing hair, not because I actually have those, but I wanted to be sure she’d smile. You can imagine, the words kept flowing from my brain onto the screen.

Then I wrote to my children. Both under ten years of age, I needed to keep it relevant to their lives now. I wrote about how much I love them and how proud I am of them, especially how kind they are. Then I thought I should write things that would be pertinent to them as they grew up. Again, I told them how much I loved them, but now I added things like how they needed to cherish one another and yes, take care of Mommy. As I kept writing, I had to change my tone, giving advice for the things I know were likely to happen as they grew up; love, heartbreak, picking the right friends, the right job and making all sorts of decisions.

Then I wrote to my parents. I told them about how much I loved them and I thanked them for everything they’ve ever done for me. I also apologized for nearly burning down the house when I was a kid, but that’s another post.

Then I wrote to my sister and then to my extended family and then to my best friends. Then, I even wrote my last social media post entitled “If you’re reading this, it was nice knowing you.”

When I thought I was done with the email, I re-read it and made changes. Turns out, this continued for many flights.  Honestly, I’m still not done, but I have to say, writing this email has been an amazing experience. I have since taken the time to call people just to tell them I love them, to thank them and basically tell them everything I wrote, using it as a script.

So what am I going to do with this email (after a few more additions)? I’m going to send it to the people I love. Why wait? What is worth saying, is worth saying now.

Breathe. Think. Type. You’ll enjoy this as will the people you love. 


My biggest gripe about email; sign it!

No, not this kind of signature.

I don’t know about you, but I get about a hundred emails a day and my biggest complaint about email is that most people don’t include a signature.  When did this become socially acceptable? I’m not suggesting a glorious John Hancock should emblazon your email, but specifically, I’m looking for basic contact information.  If you don’t include contact information in your email, read on.

First, this is not going to be one of those long, boring technical posts about HTML signatures, bandwidth, etc. This post is also aimed at the US market.  Sorry, but my EU friends have lots of other legal requirements related to email signatures I don’t dare address.  With that out of the way, let’s get started.

It is simple common courtesy to include basic contact information in an email signature. Just signing it “John” isn’t enough.  After all, we are operating businesses here, correct?  Assuming this is the case, it is your job to be “easy-to-do-business-with.”   Here are my thoughts.

Most people like to organize contacts into some sort of address book.  Many times we’ll do business with people with whom we have not yet had the chance to exchange business cards (or yes, BUMP iPhones; the app that let’s you bump two iPhones together to simultaneously and automatically swap contact info). Providing your basic contact information allows recipients the opportunity to copy and paste your information into their address book.  This is just in case, oh I don’t know, they want to find your contact information someday! 

Most people also read email on their mobile devices.  Providing your basic contact information allows them to call you with one tap of the screen (or a quick scroll on Blackberry) while they’re running through the airport.

So you have now seen me write “basic information” more than a few times, so I’ll be clear.  For me, basic information includes:

  1. Your name
  2. Your title
  3. Your phone number
  4. Your email address
  5. At least one social media username if it’s appropriate to what you do – LinkedIn would be best since you can share all your contact information there.  By the way, not all corporations (read “old school” corporations) like this one though.
  6. Your main URL 

No, I have not included a street address.  This is only helpful if you do a lot of business outside your time zone or if, for some reason, you still get a lot of snail mail.  Street address though can be found on a website or simply requested when needed.

The rule of thumb is to keep email signatures to four lines by using colons and pipes (see below).

John Q. Hancock
CEO | Made Up Company Investments
212-555-5555 | jhancock@madeupco.com | http://www.madeupcoinvestments.com
@johnhancock | LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/johnhancock

You should also have two versions of your email signature; a longer one for initial emails and a shorter one for replies.

For those who think an email signature is not needed on internal emails, I beg to differ.  If I get an email on my blackberry without a signature and I want to call you, it takes me at least three clicks and a variety of scrolls to find your number via the corporate address lookup.  If you’d just include your phone number it would take one click.

 At the end of the day, we’re all time-starved, so do me a favor; include your basic contact information in your email.  Make it easy for me to do business with you.  If not, I’ll assume you don’t want to do business with me.