Business Email Sign-off Considerations



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The topic of how to sign-off an email is one that has perplexed and concerned many a business onliner. Those who are concerned about being perceived favorably wonder about how to leave the appropriate tone, close with the intended meaning getting across as well as how not to look redundant by always including the same closing.

Using the Proper E-mail Sign-Off

First things first. All sign-offs need to include your name. Whether you include your first name alone or first and last name is dependent on the level of formality you want to relay in your e-mail. For first time contacts you can include your last name, but in subsequent communications that isn’t necessary. If you have your e-mail program setup properly, your last name is in the From: field.

Your Choices Set the Tone

Not only does how you sign your name set the tone of an e-mail, so does how you choose to sign-off. Some have their own way of signing off that reflects individuality or their personality. For example I am known for signing off my emails with “At your service,” or “Virtually,”. (If you see anyone else using these closings, you now know where they got it from!)

Then there are the most popular — and my comments:

  • Best,
    Best what? Not a fan of this one. Would go with Best regards,.
  • Yours,
    Yours? Yours for what? Alternative: Yours truly,.
  • Cordially,
    Good for new contacts that you plan on additional communications with.
  • Regards,
    Sternly professional.
  • Best regards,
    Commonly used in business communications.
  • Best wishes,
    What are we wishing for? Better for personal e-mails.
  • Sincerely,
    A staple of business sign-offs — if you are in fact being sincere!
  • Kindest regards, Warmest regards,
    Good for professional communications where you’ve communicated before and genuinely appreciate/like the other side.
  • I remain yours truly,
    Not sure where this fits in professional communications. More of a sign-off that a “fan boy/girl” would use.
  • Warmly,
    Use with contacts that have an established relationship.
  • Thanks again,
    Always a good sign-off when asking for help or thanking for previous assistance.
  • My sincere thanks for your time and consideration,
    When asking someone to go out of their way for you this sign-off fits.
  • Take care,
    I use this quite often. It’s a nice sign-off that shows how I feel.
  • Continued success,
    This seems more of a end of e-mail statement such as “To your continued success!” rather than an e-mail sign-off.

Use Your Discretion!

Discretion is key to judge the relationship, to set the intent and tone by choosing the appropriate sign-off for each e-mail that you send. You wouldn’t use “I remain yours truly” in business communications, but you would use that closing with someone you admire, like or would like to have a friendly e-mail relationship with. Whereas “Regards,” is the other end of the scale. Very professional, unemotional and depending on the content of the e-mail could be perceived as a terse closing.

One must take the time to choose a sign-off that is indicative of the overall tone of your e-mail. A sign-off that does not match the essence of the e-mail’s text can be perceived as being sarcastic or down right rude. For example, I doubt if you were sending a professionally stern e-mail that you would sign off with “Warmly,”!

Before You Sign-Off

The above examples are not the end-all-be-all either. Your sign-off isn’t exclusively the words above your name separated by a comma. You can also use phrases that reflect the purpose of your email as well. Some examples could be:

  • Good Job!
  • All the best of success!
  • I really appreciate your time/help/assistance!
  • Have a great day!
  • Keep up the good work!
  • Thank you!
  • Thank you for your quick response.
  • Thank you for taking your time.
  • Looking forward to your reply.
  • Enjoy your weekend!
  • HTH! (Hope This Helps!)
  • Have a good one!

Your closing, while very important, is the icing on the cake. It needs to be inline with the overall tone and demeanor of your email to ensure that your message is delivered with clarity and leaves no room for misunderstandings or incorrect perceptions.

That is the dilemma we all face when writing and closing our e-mails. Using our discretion to determine the best words to use to relay the exact tone and intent with clarity. From how you open your email with a salutation to the content and then the sign-off, each part of your e-mail is a component that contributes to the overall interpretation of your message.

By taking your time and choosing your words carefully from start to finish, your email signature file sign-offs will just be one more indicator of what a pleasure it will be to communicate with you!


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