“Please forgive any tpyos.” “Sent from my tiny pocket computer.” “Sent from my smartphone—please excuse the brevity and grammatical errors.” “Sent from my 1.21 gigawatt processor.” And, most annoyingly: “Sent from my iPhone. Please consider the environment before printing this email.” It’s official: it’s time to retire, once and for all, the odious personalized mobile email signature.
Don’t get me wrong: I love free expression, creativity, and individuality—especially when it finds its way into the otherwise boring monotony of corporate life. I love a solid punch line as much as the next guy. And I love any reminder of the film Back to the Future, even if it came out several years before I was born.
But, guys—it’s 2017. Next month, the iPhone will officially celebrate its 10th birthday. Smartphones—also known as today’s computers, cash registers, newspapers, cameras, road maps, voice recorders, GameBoys, iPods, bank tellers, and TVs—aren’t exactly a novelty anymore. They’re ensconced in our daily lives, for better or worse. We don’t need the goofy reminders you’re typing on a smartphone and may misspell a word or two. And hell, if you believe the market research firm Gartner, there’s a good chance smartphone will become your primary computer very soon.
But I get it. Your mobile email signature does serve a very real purpose. It’s a helpful line tacked on at the end of your emails letting your colleagues, clients, and other recipients know that you’re sending it from your handheld device, and therefore, you know, on-the-go, typing quickly, and not writing quite as formally as you otherwise would be.
But if we’re keeping it, I think it’s time we collectively choose a universal mobile email signature we can all agree on.
With that in mind, we reached out to Ben Dattner, an executive coach, organizational psychologist, and founder of Dattner Consulting, to get at least one professional opinion on what the single best email smartphone signature should be. “In general, you want to have positive and relevant associations as a working professional, and your email signature is just another opportunity to reiterate, ‘Here’s who I am and this is what I do,'” he says.
On your device, Dattner says you should definitely include your name, your company, and your title. (Fine.) If you’re comfortable with it, you should include your phone number, email, and mailing address, too. (Understood.) And if you work in a legally sensitive field—law comes to mind—definitely have a legal disclaimer: “This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential…”
Got it. But what should the signature be?
“Sent from the road.”
OK, I confess that I didn’t see that coming. But the more I look at it and let it sink in, the more I think it’s a magnificent idea. Here’s why Dattner chose it.
The little phrase recalls, simultaneously, Hemingway (succinct yet emphatic) and Kerouac (the whole “road” part), lending some serious literary cred to whatever text happens to be in your message. It’s more creative than the slightly pretentious “Sent from my mobile” version. Plus, with “Sent from the road,” you avoid unwittingly—and for no pay, at that—shilling a product (we’re looking at you, “Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone” guy).
But Dattner is quick to warn us that the mobile email signature may be dated.
“Who knows?” he says. “Perhaps at some point Apple or Samsung will subsidize the cost of your phone if you advertise you’re sending an email from one of their devices.”
It still beats “Please forgive any tpyos” any day.
For more amazing advice for living smarter, looking better, feeling younger, and playing harder, follow us on Facebook now!