New to the professional world? Nervous you may have been ending emails wrong? Looking to corroborate your writing style? Uncertainty with email closings is a common concern for countless professionals. How you end an email can sever the whole line of communication. Fear not, we are here to assuage those concerns and steer you right.
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The role of Email closings
One of the fundamental aspects of interpersonal communication lies in our nonverbal cues. We express much with our hands and our eyes. We smile and frown. A significant portion of our intention is conveyed by the inflection of our words and modification of the pitch and tone of our voices. All of this is lost in email, text, and tweet alike, where our words stand alone on the screen to do all the work of communicating clearly.
This makes the precision of our online verbiage of tantamount importance, lest we run the risk of failing our mission. Where that precision is less obviously essential is in the humble closing of our emails. Like the bow and wrapping on a gift, the shine on a shoe, and the firm handshake, the closing is not an afterthought; it is the final touch, the last action that speaks to your intent, attention to detail, and character.
What are email closings?
Email closings are the phrases or sign-offs used at the end of an email before the sender’s name to convey a sense of professionalism, courtesy, or regards. Examples include “Best regards,” “Sincerely,” “Thank you,” “Warm regards,” and “Kind regards.”
Why you should invest in choosing the right ending in your emails?
Emails closings speak to the composer’s professionalism. Is this someone the reader wants to trust with their business? Will they be respectful of my time and intelligence? They are indicators of epistolary etiquette. They are signals of completion and conveyors of clarity.
And when dealing with the same audience repeatedly, they can be marks of consistency, establishing recognizable patterns for your brand or personal credibility. Email closings are relationship builders in toto. Lastly, they may be integral for legal and compliance purposes, with important disclaimers or confidentiality notices.
Now that we’ve established that email closings can make or break the whole epistle, you may be asking “how do I write a good email closing?” Let’s go over some email closing dos and don’ts to make sure the lasting impression you leave best boasts your intent.
How to close an email
The components of a good email closing are essentially to summarize the body of your email, convey to your recipient the appropriate sentiment on the professionalism/warmth spectrum, provide reliable contact information, establish reliability through consistency, and encourage the object of your communiqué to react appropriately. Let’s dive in.
1- Email closings in the form of a summary:
Reduce the contents of the main body of your email to a single, manageable concept or single string of concepts. What is the essence of the email? Let’s say you just shared a quarterly earnings report with your team. This can be a lot of information to process.
An example for email closing in summary form:
“Our revenue has grown by 15% compared to the last quarter, marking a significant milestone for our company. This success is largely due to our new product line, which has been well-received in the market. Our net profit margin has also improved by 8%, thanks to our cost-saving initiatives and operational efficiencies. This positive financial performance puts us in a strong position for the upcoming fiscal year”
Let’s keep up the great work!
2- Complimentary email closings
This is where you will establish the tone of your email closing, and in turn, the entirety of the preceding email. What tone to establish is entirely dependent on the specific recipients. Colleagues, superiors, underlings, and clients all require different approaches in order to maximize the effectiveness of your letter.
Not all professional relationships are created equal. Some are friendly and some are strictly business. You are going to have to rely on your own powers of intuition to navigate these waters. While erring on the side of professional appears to be the safest option, even this seemingly innocuous act of good intentions can come across as rude, impersonal, or arrogant if applied incorrectly to a professional equal or an otherwise casual person. Let’s take a look at the main complimentary email closing examples.
- Formal Business: Opt for classic closings like “Sincerely,” “Best regards,” or “Respectfully.”
- Informal Business: “Best,” “Thanks,” or “Regards” are suitable.
- Friendly/Casual: “Cheers,” “Talk soon,” or “Take care” can work well.
- Client Communication: Maintain professionalism with “Best regards” or “Thank you for your time.”
- Call to action: What do you want the recipient to do with this information?
3. Email endings that will encourage a reply:
- Formal: “Looking forward to hearing from you soon.”
- Informal: “Reply when you have a chance!”
- Friendly: “Can’t wait to chat more. Let me know!”
4. Prompt specific action
- Formal: “Please RSVP to the event by Friday.”
- Informal: “Don’t forget to check out our new offer!”
- Friendly: “Would love your feedback on this draft. Shoot me a reply when you get a chance.”
5. Schedule further communication in your closings
- Formal: “I will follow up with you next week to discuss this further.”
- Informal: “Let’s hop on a call next Tuesday. Does that work for you?”
- Friendly: “Talk soon! Catch you in the meeting on Wednesday.”
6. Request confirmation along with your email farewell
- Formal: “Please confirm your attendance at the event by replying to this email.”
- Informal: “Just double-checking – you’re good for the meeting tomorrow, right?”
- Friendly: “Quick question – did you see my last message?”
7. Create a sense of urgency
- Formal: “Limited spots available! Register for the webinar today.”
- Informal: “Offer ends soon! Claim your discount before it’s gone.”
- Friendly: “P.S. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity!”
Additional Email farewell tips:
- Keep your call to action clear, concise, and actionable.
- Use strong verbs that encourage the recipient to take the desired step.
- Consider adding a deadline or sense of urgency for time-sensitive requests.
- Match the tone of your call to action to the overall tone of your email.
The Email sign off
The Sign-off: This is your actual Email signature, indicating who you are. It generally includes your name and may also include your title, company, contact information, or links to social media profiles. Even here, tone is created with font, graphic design, color, and photo. Establish the timbre of your brand with a repeatable, curated sign-off.
Now that we’ve laid down the basic framework of what makes a good email closing, here’s a simple checklist of 12 to dos and 12 don’ts to make sure you are headed in the right direction.
12 Do’s for closing an email like a pro:
1. Know your audience
Consider the recipient and your relationship with them. Ultimately, you need to do the calculus on balancing warmth, which can come across as casual, and professionalism, which can be stiff and chilly.
2. Be courteous
When in doubt, be overly courteous, but be careful not to do this with recipients who could be offended by a lack of friendliness.
3. Match the formality of the closing to the tone of your email
Don’t write an entire letter in buttoned-up prose only to undermine it with an overly casual email closing. See formal email writing examples.
4. Keep it brief and to the point
You’ve already written the email. Make it digestible, but don’t beat a dead horse.
5 . Add a personal touch
This goes a long way in conveying to your reader that they are important to you and not just a faceless statistic. By mentioning the recipient’s name or referencing previous interactions, you are creating a lasting connection.
6. Proofread your email carefully, including the closing
A sloppily written email sends up warning signals about your professionalism and competence, and a sloppy email closing can erase all the hard work you put into the body of the work.
7. Express gratitude or appreciation
Words such as “Thank you for your support” or “With sincere thanks”. After all, time is money, and they just took the time to read your writing, for better or worse.
8. Include a call to action or express expectations
Again, what do you want them to do with this information? For example, “Looking forward to your response”.
9. Include contact information and relevant links for further interaction
Maybe your target hates emails. They aren’t very good at keeping their inbox clear of spam and your efforts will get lost in the shuffle. Maybe they just prefer a particular social media platform, or the old fashioned phone call. Give them options. This way there are no excuses.
10. Proofread for spelling and grammatical correctness
Remember, a misspelled word can be a jarring sign of carelessness. All the details matter. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot. This includes the email address itself! Don’t send it to the wrong person, or an email address that doesn’t exist. How embarrassing to wait around for a response to an email that never made it to its intended destination.
11. Use a business email signature to appear trustworthy
A professionally designed email signature is a relatively small expense that speaks further to your willingness to invest resources into doing things right. If you cheap out here, where else might you?
Have you succeeded in achieving the previous 11 points? Put yourself in their shoes. How would you feel if you received this email? Remember you aren’t just representing yourself, you are representing your team, your boss, your company.
12 don’ts to avoid closing your email like an amateur
1. Avoid overly casual language or slang
Even if you went to college with your client’s daughter, you went to the bar afterwork with some coworkers, or the boss invited you to go golfing at his club, you are still a professional. Act like one. You are being trusted with important business.
2. Don’t use cliches or generic phrases that lack personalization
This requires a little effort, as it’s easy to fall back on canned email closings, but applying specific details to your finish can make the recipient feel “seen”.
3 Avoid using buzzwords or acronyms that may confuse the recipient
TTYL! What? I’m a boomer and this is a business.
4. Never put down or bad-mouth anyone in the email
What you put down in your email is forever archived. FOREVER. You may have noticed in the wave of cancel-culture how social media missteps can destroy careers. Well, this can happen in more private spheres, too. If the walls have ears, the wires have recordings of what those ears hear.
5. Refrain from using excessive punctuation, like multiple exclamation marks
“Can’t wait for your reply!!!” This isn’t a birthday card. Even if it were, excessive punctuation can come across as cloying and ridiculous. Don’t evoke the eye roll.
6. Do not forget the conversation closer, e.g., omitting “Best regards” or “Sincerely”
Skipping over the complimentary close will sound robotic, and you aren’t a bot. Are you? Wait, are you??
7. Avoid being too formal or impersonal in situations that call for a friendly tone
“Thank you for your consideration”. What? I thought we made a real connection at last week’s business luncheon. Maybe our relationship isn’t what I thought it was.
8. Don’t use unprofessional closings that undermine the email’s seriousness
This is a million dollar deal. Casual Fridays are not welcome here.
9. Refrain from using emoticons or emojis in professional emails
If three exclamation marks were bad, emoticons and emojis are exponentially worse. Even casual emails shouldn’t be silly.
10. Avoid missing out on a call to action where necessary
Somewhere in the back of everyone’s mind is one question. “What do they want from me?” Make sure you provide the answer to that question.
11. Do not use inappropriate language or expressions that might offend the recipient
Find the goldilocks zone of your language. Again, too casual with a strictly serious relationship, or too serious with a friendly relationship, can each have undesirable consequences.
12. Avoid making the closing too lengthy or irrelevant to the email content
You are summarizing, encouraging a desirable reaction, capping off a tone, and providing reliable contact information. Don’t rewrite the email, and don’t start writing another one entirely. If you have more to say, be patient and save it for the next missive.
The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and the more opportunity you have to authentically reach out, the more you are in their thoughts. Don’t waste the opportunity to reach out again by coming off as disjointed.
In closing on closings
This comprehensive guide dives into the crucial world of email closings, emphasizing their role in professionalism, clarity, and relationship building. Match tone, express gratitude, call to action, proofread meticulously (twice!), address and sign-off accurately, avoid informal jargon, ditch overly generic closings, and don’t overdramatize.
Remember, a good email closing leaves a lasting impression. Choose wisely! Balance warmth and professionalism based on the recipient and context. Utilize a consistent, professional email signature. Consider the recipient’s perspective: how would you feel receiving your email?