The topic of how to sign-off an email is probably a concern for many emailers.
Those who are concerned about being perceived favorably wonder how to sign-off with the appropriate tone, close with the intended meaning getting across as well as how not to look redundant by always including the same closing.
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 in your email. For first time contacts you can include your first and last name, but in subsequent communications that isn’t necessary. The best would be, to set your signature as default, to all out going emails, in your system itself!
Not only does how you sign your name set the tone of an email, 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 “Have a good day” & “Cheers”. If you see anyone else using these closings, you now know where they got it from!
Then there are the most popular ones:
As with anything to do with email, use your discretion as to what is best for that particular message. For example, 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 email relationship. Whereas “Regards,” is the other end of the scale. Very professional, unemotional and depending on the content of the email 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 email. A sign-off that does not match the essence of the email’s text can be perceived as being sarcastic or down right rude. For example, I doubt if you were sending a professionally stern email that you would sign off with “Warmly!”
And that is the dilemma we all face when writing and closing our emails. Using our discretion to determine the best words to use to relay the exact tone and intent with clarity to avoid misunderstandings. From how you open your email with a salutation to the content and then the sign-off, all parts of your email are a component that contributes to the overall interpretation of your message.
Most onliners are not clear communicators. If you think about it we haven’t had to rely on communicating with the written word in decades. Just a mere century ago people wrote letters daily. This meant choosing their words carefully and thoughtfully to communicate the emotion and intent of their writings. Now, fast forward to this century and many emails appear to be written by someone who didn’t make it out of grade school! Short forms of words are widely used and, the worst of all, while signing off, there are no names! Often, when replying, especially through a company formed email for e.g. email@example.com there is no sign off name, so the reader, has no idea who he or she is in touch with!
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:
Your closing, while very important, is only 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 received as intended and leaves no room for misunderstandings or incorrect perceptions.
By taking your time and choosing your words carefully, your sign-offs will just be one more indicator of what a pleasure it will be to communicate with you.
Contributed by: Mohinder Pal Singh
Date: April 30, 2010