How to CYA

Brief email disclaimers that speak the truth




Email disclaimers and the art of cya

Email disclaimers and signatures often catch my attention, partially because I don’t use either, but mostly because I often find them cumbersome and silly.

For example:
• My husband used to work for a company that handled multi-million dollar deals. Emails included details that other companies could use to secure jobs that many businesses competed for. His disclaimer was written to protect them but went on and on for about 15 sentences—all to say something like “you’re not supposed to be reading this, but you did, so aliens will have to remove your brain so you no longer possess the information you have from reading this, and let’s also arrange to have your eyes gauged out so an inappropriate reading of our emails never happens again.”

• Some professionals have a lot to be proud of, and they want to be sure I know it every time we interact. I see email signatures that include the sender’s every job responsibility, award, volunteer position, contact number, physical, mail and satellite office address, and 10 social media icons, just in case I’d like to connect in some other, less direct way.

My bottom line: If I can’t read what comes after your name as quickly as I can read the email, I do notice your signature or disclaimer—but I don’t read it. I roll my eyes.

This summer, I might set a let’s-get-real example with a bit of honesty and brevity with my own email signatures/disclaimers. A few I could try:
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