January 11, 2012

The Do's and Don'ts of Email Sign-Offs

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From age five we are taught how to sign a letter. Everyone knows the standard letter sign-offs such as sincerely, yours truly, and love. Unfortunately these uncomplicated norms did not transfer over into the world of email, a medium that is still evolving somewhat haphazardly. One of the most crucial and often botched aspects of email is the sign-off. Writers often try to express themselves and be personable at this point in the email, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It is, however, important to remember who you are in correspondence with and whether or not self-expression is appropriate. The vibe of those final words above your name establishes the relationship, and the hierarchy.



Of course, everyone has his or her own opinions on what is appropriate and what is not. Everyone has a different personality, and thus, emailing style. Nonetheless, there are certain email sign-offs that seem to be universally looked down upon and others that are generally appreciated in a business context.

Do not sign an email with:

"Best"

  • Many professionals find "best" impersonal, rude, and confusing. All in all, not the best way to end an email if you wish to have further contact with your correspondent.


"xoxo"

  • This warm and familiar email sign-off is a cute and personal way to end an email to a close friend. However, by no means should it be used in a professional setting, especially with someone that you do not know well.


" "

  • Ending an email with no sign-off at all can be considered just as rude. It is too abrupt and very unfriendly.


Consider these email sign-offs:

"best regards" or "all the best"

  • This signing is formal and considerate.


"warmly" or "warm regards"

  • Perfect balance between not too emotional and not too formal.


"Sincerely"

  • A standard closing that works for any professional communication between stranger.


Another important indicator of how to sign-off your email is what the email discusses, you do not want to end an email complaining about some aspect of a company with "warmly" because that will send mixed messages. Likewise, consider how your correspondent ended their last email. It is generally a good idea to mirror their level of cordiality and emotion. A lot can be interpreted from an email sign-off. Keep these pointers in mind when you go to send off your next email, whether it be to your boss or your best friend.