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In Closing: Improve Email Sign-offs

We’ve spent lots of time on our blog and in our workshops and online courses helping business writers compose better, clearer email messages and writing subject lines that make readers open a message. But like any conversation or first impression, how your email ends really sets the tone for how it’s perceived or whether the reader takes the action you want them to take.

Many of us suddenly struggle at the end of an email message, especially when writing to strangers and when the stakes are high, like when applying for a job opening. The key point here is to close with some sort of statement and use of your name. After all, you wouldn’t walk out of a job interview or meeting with your boss without a quick expression of thanks or goodbye.

Examples of Email Closings

What are some good and bad closings? It depends on the situation or context. In all instances, keep it professional. Here are a few examples:

“Best,” which is safe, sort of cheerful, and can’t offend. It also seems a little brief, however, and might come across as rushed and uncaring.

“Best wishes,” is one step further, and blends a friendly tone with a more formal one.

“Thanks,” which really works only for gratitude. Don’t use it after sending a directive out to employees, for example.

“Regards,” also is a safe closing, but fairly formal. Go ahead and use it in professional communication, but don’t use it every time you send a message to someone.

“Sincerely,” the old standby closing from letters, can work for job cover letters or similar correspondence, especially if you used “Dear” in the salutation. But don’t use it with people you know.

“See you soon,” or “Speak with you soon,” are a little more casual closings, but just friendly enough. But they can seem like insincere promises if you use them when you have no expectations of seeing or speaking to the recipient in the near future.

“TTYL,” is a big no-no. Avoid texting shortcuts in emails. The same goes for abbreviations like “Thx.”

“Have a blessed day,” introduces religious overtones and should be reserved for close friends or family, not in a professional email.

“Yours truly,” is formal enough and has some warmth, but it can be perceived as fake.

“J,” or initials only, is another one to avoid except with people you know well.

Use a Professional Signature

There’s more to an email signoff than your closing line. All business emails should also contain a professional but simple signature that tells your full name, title, company and phone number. In most cases, the company name should hyperlink to your company’s website. If you use email for more than one purpose, you should be able to set and select distinct signatures for each purpose in your email software.

Some companies provide standard signatures with a logo and distinct style preferences, which you should always use for business messages. In some cases, you can add a visual. Just don’t overdo it so the image makes the email take too long to download or distracts from your message. You also can add an action line with a link.

How you write and close email messages matters! Want to learn more about email writing? See our Business Writing That Counts! online courses, tip sheets, and other services online or call us at 425-485-3221 for more information.

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