14 Mar

Word to Your Mother

By Erika Turan, APR

Senior Account Executive

I’m dating myself here, but as a little kid, Walter Cronkite was the newsman for our house (which begs the question as to why a little kid was watching the news, but whatever).

Walter Cronkite was the CBS Evening News anchorman for a staggering 19 years, starting in 1962. He delivered the news on President Kennedy’s assassination, the Vietnam War, Watergate and the Iran Hostage Crisis.

Photo of Cronkite:

He was also the godfather of the sign-off, ending each broadcast with his iconic, “And that’s the way it is.” He eventually earned the moniker “Most Trusted Man in America” based on consumer research.

His successors have all tried with varying degrees of success to create a similar way of bidding adieu at the end of a broadcast that probably ran the gamut from senseless killing to heartbreaking disease to a dog who can surf.

I was personally a big fan of ABC anchorman Charles Gibson, who signed off each night with, “I’m Charles Gibson, and I hope you had a great day.” He really seemed to mean it! Thanks, Charlie! I DID have a great day!

Then there’s Al Roker, NBC’s Today Show weatherman, who coined the toss phrase, “Now here’s a look at what’s happening right outside your window.” Granted Al is not an anchor, but that phrase became his. Now we can all feel sorry for the other weathermen who have puny knockoffs, like “Here’s what’s happening in your neck of the woods.” Blech.

Boil this down to how you sign-off. More specifically, how do you sign your email?

You might send emails a hundred times a day, or more. Do you give much thought to how you end them?

There is actually a surprising amount of chatter on the Web about this very subject (well, there’s also a surprising amount of chatter about squirrels, so perhaps take this with a grain of salt).

Internationally, accepted sign-offs include “cheers” and “kind regards,” either of which you can probably envision getting from a colleague in India or one in Indiana.  Other common sign-offs include : thanks, respectfully yours, sincerely…you can even find etiquette experts debating various good-byes.

Where it can get inspirational, dicey, or downright hilarious is in the signature of the email. For many people, there is no signature at all. For others, there is contact information and your company’s motto (and/or very strict instructions that if you are not the intended recipient of this email you should reply that you got it in error, then print off a copy and shred it, then delete it, then notify corporate security, then set your computer on fire).

And for some, it’s a chance to personalize things a bit. I’ve seen excerpts from the Bible, inspirational quotes and philosophies of everyone from Oprah to Eleanor Roosevelt:

“A great attitude is not the result of SUCCESS.  Success is the result of a great attitude.”

“Make it a GREAT day!”

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

My all time favorite? The guy who put in his email signature, “Go big or go home.”

None of these are bad quotes or personal philosophies. But they’re probably better suited to personal email signatures than corporate email addresses. When you send an email from your work address to a business colleague or client, best to keep it as professional as you possibly can. A simple listing of your contact information, along with your company’s logo or tagline, will do just fine.

If that won’t suffice, try “Word to your mother.” It worked for Vanilla Ice.