Email Tip – Closing an Email

Karen’s question: “I receive numerous emails daily from staff and other community contacts who end their messages with ‘cheers’ or ‘thanks much.’ Whatever happened to closing with ‘sincerely’ or a simple ‘thank you’? What is the appropriate way of ending an internal email or one received by a fellow service worker from outside your business?”

BizWritingTip response: Emails were designed to get away from the formality of letters. Therefore, “sincerely” is considered too ceremonial for most emails.

When you end an email, the complimentary closing line should be based on your relationship with the reader. If I send a message to senior management or to someone outside my organization, I use a more formal close.

Examples of Formal Close for an Email

Regards

Best wishes

Thank you

Note: Yes, you can say “Best regards.” It is not my personal choice, but there is nothing wrong with it.

If I write to a colleague within my company, I am less formal.

Examples of a Neutral Close for an Email

Thanks

Cheers

If I send an email to a close friend who works for the same organization, I can be very casual and use an ending that means something to the two of us.

Examples of a Casual Close for an Email

Thanks much

TGIF (Thank God, it’s Friday)

TTFN (Ta, ta for now)

Adios

Ciao

Note: Never use a casual closing when writing to an external reader or to a senior manager.

I know some of you are wondering “why bother putting a closing line on at all.” There are two reasons: First, it just comes across as courteous. If you were leaving a meeting, you would not normally just walk away. You’d probably say “good bye” or “see you later.” The same holds true for emails. You want to sound like one human being talking to another.

Second, most organizations have long disclaimers that get added to messages when they are sent externally. The closing line signals to the reader that the message is actually over. The print below is a legal requirement.

 

  • Anita Young

    Hi Jane,
    You must receive tons of emails every day to thank you for your unlimited support and continuous update on grammar. Just want to say “Thank You!” and please don’t stop from what you’re doing. My boss says my English has improved and it means a lot to me!
    Thanks again, Anita

    • Jane Watson
  • Jared Cowan

    Hello Jane,

    I enjoy reading your updates. I was having a heated debate with a friend of mine about the complimentary close. He seems to think in his correspondences with potential employers ending with;

    “Thank you for your time,

    Joe”

    Is appropriate. I do not! I feel “Thank you for your time,” should be placed in the body as one of the final sentences. What do you think?

    Now I’m a little self concious about what my close should be. I’ll part with a:

    Vaya con Dios,

    Jared Cowan

    ==That was meant to be funny==

    • There is nothing wrong with “Thank you for your time.” However, just having been on a search committee for a general manager, I can say truthfully that that phrase does not impress me – anywhere in a document. It sounds a little too humble and lacking in confidence. People who read resumes are looking for solutions to their problems by finding the best candidate for a job. I like candidates who say something such as “I look forward to discussing with you how my xxxx skills can assist your organization” and then just signing off with “Regards.”

      Jane Watson