Professional E-mail Tips from Lifehacker

D. Keith Robinson has posted a long list of ways to handle your email better on Lifehacker; including tips for writing better messages and handling large volumes of email.  This one struck a chord:

"Sign your e-mail. At the very least your name if the
person you’re e-mailing doesn’t know you well. I get many e-mails from
people who’s e-mail address is funky, something like, and it makes for an awkward response if I
don’t know their name."

Years ago I was working a large consulting gig at a major telecom company.  One of the independent contractors on the project had a somewhat unique email handle – let’s call it "" to protect the indifferent.  The first time I received an email from him I was shocked at the unprofessional image this conveyed to our mutual client.  Needless to say, the email address was a source of ridicule from everyone on the team and the contractor didn’t last long on the project.

Better yet, a friend of a friend shows up for his first day at work at a new, hip dot-com company in the late nineties.  When asked what he wants his email address to be, he replies "subtlewinds."  Turns out the company wasn’t THAT hip.  He didn’t make it more than a couple of weeks.

My post has morphed into something entirely different than I intended, but here’s where I close the circle: Email, like every other form of contact between you and your customers/ clients/ colleagues, is a chance to make an impression.  Make sure that you are conveying the image you want – pick a good email address, spell and grammar check your messages, use language that is appropriate to the audience, and put a good signature on all your email.

Read Special: Professional E-Mail Tips for more ideas.