Writing Style – Email Salutations

A BizWritingTip reader asked, “Would you happen to know which is better for business emails: opening with Hi Jane, Jane, or Dear Jane? Mostly, I see Hi Jane used in my business.”

BizWritingTip response: There are several options for starting an email in North America as our business culture is not as formal as other areas.

You can use “hi,” “hello,” “good day” or any other variant – including just the first name. I usually tell people to use whatever they would say when they are greeting someone face to face. I recommend staying away from “good morning” or “good afternoon” as the person may not open the email during that time frame.

You could use “greetings” or “hello all” when sending a message to a group.

If I didn’t know the person, and it was my first communication to him/her, I would use both names: John McDonald.

Not putting a salutation on the first message of the day to someone is often considered impolite. As you email back and forth during the day, you can drop the salutation when it feels comfortable.

“Dear” is considered too formal in North America for an email and is reserved for letters. Note: “Dear” in an email is considered appropriate in countries such as Germany, Switzerland, France, Japan and Indonesia.

Bye all!

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