For the last couple of months I’ve been using ‘Warmest regards’ to close my emails. With this phrase I was hoping to convey a warm and friendly, yet professional image. How can you get just a couple of words to speak for you when there are no physical signals to read as well?

This week I asked professionals on LinkedIn How do you close your emails? and got an astonishing response. My thinking behind this question was initially pretty selfish: I wanted to hear from the horse’s mouth, as it were, what the most acceptable and pleasantly received close is, so I could adopt it as my own!

For me Sandra Carden (http://www.cardenworks.com) summed the issue up best when she said: “I vary my closing depending on the content of the e-mail and my relationship with the recipient. But sometimes I get bored with my usual closings, so thanks, everybody, for your replies — I’ll add a few of these to my mental list.
Best wishes ~ Warm regards ~ Cheers,
Sandra“

After thinking more about it, I was also intrigued to know what the reasons were for people’s choices and how they reacted to the close on the emails they received. Is it a surprise to find that ‘Regards’ would be far and away the most popular choice?

I doubt it!

Instead of leaving it at that, breaking it down to specifics was also interesting. ‘Regards’ and all its variations won when grouped together, but even within that group, a simple ‘Regards’ still rules the roost.

Instead of including all of the types of close, I’ve tabulated those that were represented twice or more in the 56 responses. I was surprised, and pleased, to find that  a fair number of senders believed it was important to consider the recipient and adapt their close accordingly. Several women mentioned they mirror the close that they receive from that person, although there were no men who admitted doing the same.

So let’s have a look at the most popular five phrases used.

‘Regards’ has its roots in handwritten communications. It is regarded by some as a less formal, yet respectful word and by others as the height of formality. Many add ‘Best’, ‘Warm/est’ or ‘Kind/est’, which can only suggest they are trying to convey more of a personal message to their reader.

‘Thanks’ in its various guises surprised me when it romped in second as it is something of a removal from ‘back in the day’ letters when you’d get a ‘Thanks for…’, as well as a close before the name. I like the sentiment, it shows real consideration for the person who is being thanked and offers a chance to reiterate the most important point of the message.

Well if ‘Thanks’ surprised me, ‘Cheers’ downright blew me away. For me, ‘cheers’ is what you say before a drink. It’s informal, but I like it. It suggests equal standing, and an easy confidence.

‘Sincerely’ had to show up, really, didn’t it? I’d feel sad for it if it’d disappeared entirely considering its long-standing history of closing letters when you know the name of the person you’re contacting. Interestingly, several people said they considered it to be fairly informal and would only use it when they know the contact personally. When I was growing up, ‘faithfully’ was used when you didn’t know the person’s name, and ‘sincerely’ when you did. It seems it’s moved a step closer in recent years.

Now ‘Best wishes’ I like, and find myself using from time to time, but it reminds me so much of birthday cards I had when I was a child. Nonetheless the sentiment is rather quaint, friendly and seems less wooden than some alternatives.

Google email close/signatures and there is a wealth of people, some confused, others confident, discussing the pros and cons of a massive variety of options. While some business writing books declare you must use a capital for both words, others are just as emphatic about only capitalizing the first.

Ultimately, you have to select a close that you feel best reflects you. For my part, I think I’ll stay with ‘Warmest regards’ in initial emails, then move into a spot of mirroring, chucking in an ‘All the best’ (which I was surprised didn’t make the cut) or ‘Cheers’ here and there when the moment seems right.

What do you use? How do you feel about these tiny little phrases? Which do you prefer to receive and why?

To see the responses in full, please go to:

http://www.linkedin.com/answers/marketing-sales/writing-editing/MAR_WED/593645-35572550?split_page=1&goback=%2Eamq

 

Proofreader, copy-writer and copy-editor

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.