At the end of an email to a client, it’s always safe to say “Kind regards” or “Thanks” – or for a bit more formality, sign off with “Sincerely.”
But don’t say “Later” – you’ll come across as a teenager. And closing with “Cheers” is a bit too cheeky.
Those are some tips from email etiquette experts.
“How do you sound friendly without coming across as unprofessional?” asks Kristin Edelhauser in Entrepreneur. “Unfortunately, there’s no ‘email bible’ to guide you.”
To find out the best way to say goodbye in an email, Edelhauser turned to a pair of business communication pros: Suzanne Bates, CEO of Bates Communications and author of Speak Like a CEO: Secrets For Commanding Attention and Getting Results, and Cherie Kerr, founder of ExecuProv and author of The Bliss or Diss Connection? Email Etiquette For The Business Professional.
How to Say Farewell the Right Way
Here are the experts’ thoughts on various e-closings, courtesy of Edelhauser and Entrepreneur:
- “It’s OK if you’re actually thanking people. But keep in mind it’s casual; you should know them if you’re using this sign-off.” (Bates) “This is one of the safest and most courteous of the salutations. It keeps it pleasant, but professional.” (Kerr)
- “This isn’t for business, except for fashion, art or real Italians.” (Bates) “Should only be used for close buddies or work pals. Not appropriate for business purposes.” (Kerr)
- “Tried and true for a formal business close, and you’ll never offend anyone.” (Bates) “A bit too formal for e-mail. This salutation can put people off. People really expect this in a letter, not an e-mail.” (Kerr)
- Kind regards. “This is a great all-purpose business salutation. It may be best for people you have corresponded with in the past.” (Bates) “This is one I use quite often. I like some kind of warmth, but also keep it business-like. I tend to use ‘Kindest regards.’” (Kerr)
- “It’s less friendly than ‘Kind regards,’ and can be a bit perfunctory, but it generally works well.” (Bates) “This salutation is a little short and a little distant, but at least it’s a closing message.” (Kerr)
- “Colloquial, but fine for someone you know. ‘Best wishes’ or ‘Best regards’ would be better for business.” (Bates) “This is another acceptable sign-off, especially if you’re using it with someone you know really well.” (Kerr)
- “Only use this sign-off for friends and business colleagues you might meet for coffee.” (Bates) “You can use this with someone you know well, but if you’re trying to make a business impression, this is not a great way to say goodbye.” (Kerr)
- “Never use this salutation for your boss.” (Bates) “Use it for a good work buddy at clock-out time on Friday.” (Kerr)
- Talk soon. “Very nice for a friend, but you better mean it.” (Bates) “It’s a nice way to sign-off. It lets the other person know there will be phone or face time soon.” (Kerr)
- “Not appropriate for business correspondence; it sounds like you’re 14 years old.” (Bates) “Only use this salutation in friendly business relationships.” (Kerr)
- Cordially. “It’s a little old-fashioned, but not offensive.” (Bates) “This is safe and pleasant and gives people a ‘feel good’ close at the end of your e-mail.” (Kerr)
- Yours truly. “Excellent for formal business.” (Bates) “Too formal for e-mail.” (Kerr)
- No salutation at all -- just an electronic signature. “There is a school of thought that an email is not a letter; I don’t subscribe to that. I think most people come to the end of a note and expect a closing. It could come across as abrupt without one. It may also subtly say, ‘I'm in a hurry,’ ‘I don’t know how to sign- off’ or ‘I’m not someone who cares about niceties.’” (Bates) “Always use a salutation, but don’t be redundant. Change it up. That makes people think you care by taking the time to ‘converse’ with them by email.”
14 Additional Tips for Top Emails
These are from Jacquelyn Smith, from Business Insider and Inc.
- 1. Include a clear, direct subject line.
- 2. Use a professional email address.
- 3. Think twice before hitting reply all.
- 4. Include a signature block.
- Use exclamation points sparingly.
- Be cautious with humor.
- Know that people from different cultures speak and write differently.
- Reply to your emails.
- 9. Proofread every message.
- Add the email address last.
- Double-check that you’ve selected the correct recipient.
- Keep your fonts classic.
- Keep tabs on your tone.
- Nothing is confidential, so write accordingly.
- Entrepreneur https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/180872?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiT0Rkak1UVTNPV0l3T0dZNCIsInQiOiJDTVlDZ2duaXFzVEpDbWViRktJc2tnV0Y2eUhpaGdRTkdsMElnUWUzVWVIK3Rwa2tZQ2poMlowS1N6cHpUY2t0aGFmcU1CU2FEdmsxR3M3OU1xNGNjRzNOcGZtemx3cUNFMzVFUG1LeVBwSkYrOXhPUGNYNm80ZlV3eDBuOEpPVCJ9
Jay Reeves practiced law in North Carolina and South Carolina. Today he helps lawyers and firms succeed through marketing, work-life balance and reclaiming passion for what they do. He is available for consultations, retreats and presentations (www.yourlawlife.com). Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-619-2441 to learn how Jay can help your practice.