Dos and Don’ts for Your Vacation Auto-Response Email

indexIt’s now officially summer and hopefully for many of you that means it’s time for a summer vacation.  Unless you plan on responding to emails during your time out of the office which defeats the purpose of taking a vacation, then you need to create an auto-response message.

An auto-response message lets your customers, clients, vendors and business associates know that you are out of the office and not simply ignoring their emails.  Your response should state when you’ll return and whether you plan to check in occasionally or if you’ll be completely unavailable.  Be sure to include emergency contact information in case an immediate response is necessary.

While it’s important to share pertinent information, getting carried away can be damaging.  Here are some things you should avoid.

1.   Don’t Brag.  I recently got an auto-response from a woman who went on and on about vacationing in the South of France while everyone was slaving away at work.  Who cares?  Save that for your friends, not your business messages.

2. Keep it Simple.  One alternate contact is sufficient.   For example — you don’t want to be a show-off by listing your executive assistant, assistant executive assistant and the assist to the executive assistants.  The same is true about the audiences with which you work.  Too many choices is confusing.

3. Avoid Humor.  Lots of people like to add humor to their auto-response messages.  First, humor doesn’t always translate well in an email.  And secondly, goes back to my point about keeping it simple.  Stick to the facts as they say.

4. Security concerns.  Providing too much information in your auto-response puts your safety and security at risk.  Instead of telling the world your traveling for vacation, simply stating your out of the office is all the information that is necessary.  Less is best.

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