Choosing the Right E-mail Sign-Off

How do you sign your professional emails? From “Fondly” to “Mitakuye Oyasin,” the sign-offs I’ve seen in client emails vary from the traditional to the unique. Here is a list of the more common email closings I’ve seen over the years:

• All the best/Best/Best Regards/Regards
• Best wishes
• Cheers
• Kind regards
• Sincerely/Sincerely yours
• Take care
• Warmly/Warm regards/Warmest regards
• Yours

Then there are the context-specific “Thanks,” “Talk you soon,” and “Have a nice day.” I’ve also seen signature sign-offs, like “Peace” (from a clergyperson) and “Mitakuye Oyasin” (a Lakota Sioux prayer of oneness, from a particularly spiritual client).

Aside from inappropriate slang, misspellings, and expletives, I believe that most email closings are fair game when selected with reasonable judgment and awareness of context. Here are some guidelines to consider.

What kind of impression do you hope to make? When you send an email, the recipient won’t be able to see your facial gestures, body language, or be able hear the tone of your voice. How you sign your email message will tell the reader something about you. Are you warm and appreciative? Are you casual and easy to communicate with? Are you a serious businessperson?

How formal do you want to be? If it’s the first time you are writing someone, “sincerely” or “kind regards” might be the right way to go. Over time, some sign-offs might seem too formal for the email medium, especially with someone you have a relationship with. On the other hand, “Ciao” might seem too casual for a new client or for an administrative email containing a contract or request for an order change.

What’s the context? Most of us seem to choose an email sign-off and stick with it. I happen to like “Best” and “Warm regards.” Yet there may be times that you’ll want to adjust your sign-off to fit the context of the communication or to personalize an email. For example, if I am sending a final draft of an article I might close with “Best of luck!” or “Congrats on reaching this milestone.”

Which email sign-off you use says a lot about you. At minimum, the right sign-off presents you as professional to your colleagues and clients. In the best form, it helps your communications come to life and allows you to connect to your audience.

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