You may or may not have stumbled upon the article in Bloomberg News which claims that “best” may in fact be the worst way to end an email. Email etiquette consultant Judith Kallos states that “…best is benign. […] It works when you apparently don’t know what else to use.” Others continue to bash the signoff, saying it is impersonal, abrupt and charmless, amongst other things.
The experts quoted in this article believe that the best way to end an email is by saying nothing at all. But is that really the case? Not saying anything at the end of an email can come off as curt, short, and even forgetful. It can possibly even come off as rude.
What’s the best way to sign off?
Well, that depends on the situation. The experts interviewed for the original piece discussed emails as if they were all the same. They did not make any distinctions in terms of whom the emails were sent to, who was doing the sending, or what the subject matter was.
The most important thing to think about when you’re signing off on an email is who you’re sending the email to, and what the email is about. It is important to know your audience and what they might expect to hear based on what was discussed in the email. If you’re sending a formal email complete with documents and a report to your superior, it is not appropriate to just say nothing. However, if you’re in an ongoing conversation with a colleague and are emailing back-and-forth throughout the course of the day, it may be acceptable to forgo a formal sign-off.
Some alternatives to “best”.
If you’re looking to switch up the routine a little, here are some suggestions on other signoff’s you can try out:
- Regards: simple, straight forward, to the point. Also, not too personal, such as “warmest regards” or “kindest regards”, which is fine if you’re emailing someone with whom you have a closer relationship.
- Thank you: this can be a great way to sign off with anyone, especially someone you may not know very well, or in an email in which something was asked of the receiver.
- A custom sentence: you don’t always have to sign off with one or two words. A short sentence of four to five words may suffice as well. For example, a signoff sentence could be: “Have a wonderful day,”, or “Thank you for your consideration,”.
Emails, as simple as they can be, are also quite complicated. They have become part of our daily lives and our identity as a career professional, and are a direct reflection of our professionalism and executive presence. You spend time and thought on the body of your email, and it’s important to do the same when it comes to your sign-off, as it is the last thing the receiver will read.