It’s anticipated that by the end of 2017, business email will account for over 132 billion emails sent and received per day. As the medium becomes a more and more important way of communicating, we’re seeing articles like this Forbes piece and this Guardian feature pop up.
Like Forbes points out, most of us (quite literally) develop a signature way of doing things. For example, I tend to start with ‘Hi [Joe]’ and end with ‘Best wishes’, or maybe ‘Many thanks’ if it’s relevant. ‘Thanks so much’ or ‘Kindest regards’ creep in every now and again too.
The Forbes article lists ‘Best’ as the safest and most recommended sign off. But a recent Bloomberg report suggested that although it’s a safe bet, it’s also “completely and unnecessarily ubiquitous”. An email etiquette consultant even labelled it “charmless, pallid, impersonal or abrupt”. While that’s a rather strong critique, there’s certainly a point there. Best what exactly? Is it really worth writing at all?
That same Bloomberg report suggests that actually email sign-offs just aren’t necessary – as email becomes the standard way of doing things, it has become a tool for continuous conversation, just like WhatsApp or iMessage, so constantly signing off is perhaps redundant.
However, I’d argue it’s definitely a case of different sign offs for different purposes. Here are our top suggestions for some of those classic email scenarios:
· ‘Kindest regards’ – a trusty, mid-formal sign off for your first email conversation.
· ‘Many thanks’ or ‘Thank you’ – simple, clear and meaningful. Great when someone has been of some support/help.
· ‘Thanks so much’ – a solid option for when someone has/is going to put time and effort into something for you.
· ‘Hope this helps’ – a good one when it’s you doing the helping.
· ‘All the best’ – use this when the conversation has come to its natural close.
· ‘Regards’ – Quite formal, and useful when you want to ensure you sound professional and authoritative.
· Your name only – good when emailing frequently/conversation is ongoing.
· Your initial only – concise and quick, this is a good one for conversational internal emails.
As you can see, there is no right or wrong answer to the email sign-off conundrum. There will be times where formality is called for and other times when a more relaxed approach will work better. The key is to know when.
And for those email sign offs that really grate on people; why not consider these quirky alternatives:
· Sent from my iPhone = Sent by magic.
· Sent from my mobile please ignore any typos = I can’t spell. Sorry.
· Follow me on Twitter @joebloggs123 = I’m desperate for followers.
· Cheers = Let’s go for a pint.
· Please consider the environment before printing = Make sure you plant a replacement tree in the office if you print this off.