“Email sign offs may be turn offs” said the headline. Reading about how “Sincerely” is used by 25% of business writers, and “Thank you” or “Thank you for your time” by 20% etc., got me thinking: How we sign our emails really has nothing to do with turning off our readers. It’s what we write, or don’t, that pisses them off.
It’s so easy to misinterpret intent in email regardless of content.
Email creates the perfect storm of communication confusion… we’re all trying to get a million things done at once, we write from our own perspective, we forget the other person is trying to juggle a million things too, each of which may be more important to them than the email we send to them. We understand what we intend and we just don’t have the time or thoughtfulness to be perfectly clear. And anyway, we know if it isn’t concise, they won’t read/look at it anyway.
But it isn’t how we close our messages. It’s how we write our messages. SpeakerSue’s advice: Write from their perspective. Respect their need to know what they need to know (not what you want to tell them). Respect their time and agenda. Take a moment to reread what you just thumbed before hitting send, and ask yourself, if you were reading that message as you were walking into a meeting, would you get it? And would you feel kindly toward yourself? Would it seem like the writer cared at all about you or just about making the point?
Really. Pay more attention to conveying a sense of respect for the reader and you can worry less about how you close your email.
Thanking you in advance for your consideration,
Background: Sunday’s AZ Republic newspaper published a Washington Post feature story about a March, 2009 Huffington Post post.