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Emails are still one of the most prevalent forms of communication, but many professionals still don’t realise how much the sign-off on these messages can affect the rest of the content.
Granted, depending on your background and industry, different people may be more receptive to different email sign-offs.
But we’ve put together some of the more common and acceptable email signatures and what they mean, as well as some that best be avoided if you want to maintain professional working relationships.
This is probably one of the safest email sign-offs, and one of Human Resources’ editor Rebecca Lewis’ favourite. “It is respectful enough to cross any cultural boundaries and is fairly safe. It doesn’t hold too much of a loaded meaning,” she said.
Other variations of this include “warm regards”, which are often reserved for those you are more familiar with, and “kind” or “best regards”.
Personally, this is my go-to email sign-off, as I find it has the right balance of friendliness and professionalism. It really is the best.
3. Thanks, or thank you
This sign off has been debated a fair bit by communication experts. Some argue “thank you” as an email sign-off comes across as rude and insincere, while “thanks!”, when used too often or out of context, expresses forced gratitude.
This is probably best saved for an email which is asking for a favour, and paired with something along the lines of “I really appreciate your help” to add a tinge of genuine gratitude.
Here’s one which carries different meanings depending on whether it’s taken from a British or American point of view – the saying came from saying “cheers!” when sharing a drink, and is still very much used that way around the world, although it has also taken on a more general meaning of “thanks!”
This is another personal favourite of mine and I believe it is an acceptable sign-off for emails to closer business contacts or in friendlier settings.
5. Love or xoxo
These are pretty much a no-no in a business context. While I have occasionally been known to sign off an email with a singular “x”, those are exclusively reserved for work contacts I’ve build a personal relationship with. Signing off a business email with either of these is informal and inappropriate.
6. Any form of emoticons
Again, this really depends on the relationship you share with the email recipient. It’s definitely not appropriate during an initial email or a message that is meant to be formal and professional, but could add a touch of fun to a more light-hearted note.
7. GTG or Rushing
Yes, we’re all busy professionals, but ending an email with “GTG” (got to go) or “rushing” seems very dismissive and rude.
8. “Have a super sparkly day”
This one Lewis received years ago as a quote in an email signature, and it has stuck with her because of how overly enthused it was. While you might want to share your life’s motto or favourite movie quote with the rest of the world, we advise you hold back.
Remember, email sign-offs should be kept short, friendly and professional.
What are your preferred email sign-offs and why? Share them with me at email@example.com.
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