Email Etiquette: Establish the rules to win the game

One of the most often asked questions at my email etiquette, productivity and protocol workshops is: What’s the best way to close an email?  And if I could answer that question, I would. 

It’s not that I don’t have my opinion. Anyone who knows me knows better than that. It’s that it isn’t like when Boomers grew up and “the complimentary close”  was taught with rigorous guidelines.

Here’s part of  New York Times article on the subject: Although salutations that begin messages can be tricky — there is a world of difference, it seems, between a “Hi,” a “Hello” and a “Dear” — the sign-off is the place where many writers attempt to express themselves, even when expressing personality, as in business correspondence, is not always welcome.

In other words, it is a land mine. …. it is becoming increasingly difficult to say goodbye.

Their advice? “In business you want to maintain the highest level of formality until the other person indicates otherwise,” she said. “Mirroring isn’t a bad thing to do. You’re letting the other side set the level of familiarity.”

And in research released in 2007 by Joan Waldvogel, in the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, the importance of the closing was highlighted: “Whatever approach is used to start or end the communication, important social information is conveyed by the choice…..The choice of greeting or closing and its presence or absence in an email message conveys not only an interpersonal message enabling the writer to negotiate his or her workplace relationships but also contributes to the creation of a friendly or less friendly workplace culture and, in turn, reflects this culture.”

But what is the one best closing that offers a perfect marker of politeness? Wait for it…

You decide. Get together at this week’s staff meeting and decide what closing you all like best and use that as your established closing. There are no rules…. there are NO rules! There is no research that says, this is the very best closing for your recipients. Everyone has an opinion, so voice yours.  Here is your chance to develop something that represents your brand in the very best manner.

Wishing you all the best-


What closings do you prefer? Do you have standards? What drives you nuts? Join the conversation here or follow me on Twitter:

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