Why And How You Should Use Pronouns in Your Business Email Communication
1. What are gender pronouns in business email communication?
2. Show respect to someone’s pronouns
3. Don’t assume someone’s gender
4. How can you mention pronouns in your email?
5. 5 examples of pronouns in an email signature
A professional email signature that we usually use in business email communication can include many things: a name, job title, phone number, photo of the sender, social media icons, and... personal pronouns (e.g., she/her/hers; he/him/his).
Why do people do it?
For many transgender people, this is a convenient way to show others the pronouns by which they would like to be referred to.
However, we can also see cisgender people (those who identify themselves with the sex assigned to them at birth) including pronouns in their email signatures too.
If you want to find out why and how we need to use gender pronouns in business email communication, keep reading this article.
Gender pronouns are words that a person prefers other people to use when talking to or about them.
Here is a gender pronouns list and the use cases:
- He/him/his can be used by those who might identify as male.
- She/her/hers are for those who might identify as female.
- They/them/their are usually used by someone who might not identify strictly as female or male. These pronouns are not only used when referring to multiple people but also considered “gender-neutral.”
- Ze/hir/hirs can replace both he/him/his and she/her/hers.
- Ey/em/eirs can replace both he/him/his and she/her/hers.
➖ “Each team leader is responsible for his/her team.”
➕ “Each team leader is responsible for their team.”
So, why sharing gender pronouns at work matter?
Adding pronouns to an email signature being cisgender is a simple way to signal to others that you recognize and respect everyone’s gender identity.
Not every transgender or nonbinary person feels brave enough to start sharing gender pronouns in emails at a new workplace, especially when no one else in the team does the same.
In such situations, cisgender people can lead the change by sharing gender pronouns.
Adding pronouns to your email is also a good step to help some people be open with you. By sharing your own pronouns, they have the option to share theirs without you needing to ask them directly.
Bonus tip: Not to place yourself in an embarrassing situation, you might also ask people what their gender pronoun is.
For example, “Please tell me your name, role, and, if you are comfortable, your gender pronouns,” “Could you remind me of which pronouns you like for yourself?” or “What are your gender pronouns?”
Below are a few easy ways for companies to introduce gender pronouns into communication (both internal and external):
Including pronouns in an email signature
All employees can add their preferred pronouns in email signatures to demonstrate respect to those who are questioned about their gender identity.
Mentioning in the text of an email
Another good option is to add a couple of words at the beginning of your email. For example, “I’m Natalie, and I’m referred to by ‘they/them/their’ pronouns.”
Adding in brackets near your name
You can also add your preferred gender pronouns near your name at the end of the email. For example,
“Best regards, Natalie (they/them/their).”
Below you will find five gender pronouns email signature examples you might want to incorporate in your business email routine.
Recently, it has become fairly common in many organizations to add gender pronouns in employee’s email signatures. This new practice helps reduce misgendering and is an essential strategy for inclusivity.
It brings awareness to something that lots of people might not have thought about before.
Do you want to start practice these values already? Create your new email signature and share personal gender pronouns in an easy and professional way.