The Art of Email Sign-Offs: Making the Right Choice

So, you’ve composed that all-important email – the one that could secure your dream job, land you a crucial meeting, or finally convince your landlord to replace that dysfunctional stove. However, before you hit send, you face a significant decision: how should you conclude your impeccably written message? Should you play it safe with a simple “Best”? Express your enthusiasm with an exclamation point? Or perhaps venture into the territory of humor, likening yourself to Garfield and his disdain for Mondays? It might seem trivial, but choosing the right email sign-off can make a difference.

In this article, we’ll delve into the art of email sign-offs, ranking them from least effective to most effective, and exploring the nuances of when and how to use them. Whether you’re sending a professional pitch or a casual message, we’ll help you navigate this crucial decision.

The Ranking: From Worst to Best

Let’s dive right into the rankings, starting from the least favorable email sign-offs to the most optimal ones.

20. “Looking forward to hearing from you,”

This sign-off is not only lengthy but can also come across as presumptuous, especially in cold-email situations. However, it can be a subtle way to express passive-aggressiveness if you’ve faced rudeness from the other party.

19. “All best,”

This sign-off falls into the category of unnecessary brevity. If you want to wish someone “all the best,” simply say it without the half-hearted attempt at abbreviation.

18. “Warmly,”

Despite its intention to convey warmth, this sign-off often misses the mark and can even be perceived as creepy.

17. A joke about Mondays

Mondays are notoriously challenging to joke about successfully. Most attempts fall flat and can risk making you appear unprofessional, especially if humor is not your forte.

16. “Cheers,”

Unless you naturally grew up using “cheers” as a sign-off, it can come across as insincere or even corny.

15. “Thanks in advance,”

This sign-off might be seen as presumptive, assuming that the recipient will indeed follow through with your request or favor.

14. “Sincerely,”

“Sincerely” straddles the line between formality and awkwardness. It can resemble the closing of a compulsory apology letter rather than a friendly email sign-off.

13. “Regards,”

“Regards” feels like a throwback to Victorian times and is seldom used in modern communication.

12. “Best regards,”

Similar to “Regards,” this sign-off retains a sense of formality that may feel out of place in most contemporary email exchanges.

11. “Talk soon,”

Use “Talk soon” only when you genuinely anticipate a swift follow-up conversation. Otherwise, the slightly longer “talk to you soon” might be more appropriate.

10. “Thank you so much,”

While expressing gratitude is essential, using “thank you so much” can sometimes come across as overly eager or desperate.

9. “Thank you,”

“Thank you” is a polite and acceptable sign-off but can occasionally make you sound less formal than desired, potentially akin to a sixth-grader.

8. “-“

Using a simple dash as a sign-off is suitable primarily for emails exchanged with individuals you already know well. In other cases, it may appear as though you didn’t put much thought into your closing.

7. “Thank you!”

If you can convey genuine gratitude, “Thank you!” is a suitable choice. However, insincerity is easily detected, so use this sign-off with caution.

6. “Best,”

“Best” is a widely used and somewhat controversial sign-off. Those who employ it are often aiming for a casual and unassuming tone—a refreshing contrast in a world filled with overly ornate email closings.

5. “Thanks!”

There’s minimal difference between “thanks!” and “thanks” with a comma, but if possible, opt for the latter, especially if your email contains numerous exclamation points.

This covers the initial rankings from the worst to the better options. Now, let’s explore the top sign-offs that stand out as effective choices.

4. Your name only

Some argue that forgoing a formal sign-off can seem cold, but in reality, it conveys directness and simplicity. Plus, it requires less effort, which can be appreciated in today’s busy world.

3. Your initials

Signing off with your initials, such as “CB,” is akin to personalizing an email with a monogram. It adds a touch of uniqueness to your messages, akin to using a custom wax seal, albeit in the digital realm.

2. “Thanks,”

“Thanks” is a versatile and effective sign-off, especially when you’re genuinely expressing gratitude for something. In a way, every email sign-off should encapsulate gratitude, as someone has taken the time to read your message.

1. “All the best,”

Our top-ranked sign-off strikes a perfect balance between warmth and formality. It’s often described as the “Oprah hug” of email sign-offs, offering a friendly and heartfelt conclusion that can be appropriate in various contexts.

So, there you have it—our comprehensive ranking of email sign-offs, from the worst to the best. Keep in mind that the choice of sign-off should align with the tone and purpose of your email, as well as your personal style and relationship with the recipient.

The Sign-Off Dilemma

Now that we’ve explored the rankings, you might be wondering why the choice of email sign-off is even significant. After all, it’s just a few words at the end of a message, right? Well, not quite. The sign-off serves several essential functions in email communication:

1. Professionalism: Your choice of sign-off can convey the level of professionalism you wish to maintain in your correspondence. Formal sign-offs like “Sincerely” are better suited for business-related emails, while casual ones like “Best” are more appropriate for friendly exchanges.

2. Tone Setting: It sets the tone for your email. A warm sign-off like “Warmly” can create a friendly atmosphere, while a succinct “Thanks” maintains a neutral tone.

3. Relationship Building: Email sign-offs can contribute to relationship building. A well-chosen sign-off can convey appreciation, foster goodwill, and leave a positive impression on the recipient.

4. Clarity: Sign-offs provide closure to your email and can prevent confusion about the end of your message. Ambiguity can be avoided with a clear and appropriate sign-off.

5. Cultural Sensitivity: Depending on the cultural context, certain sign-offs may be perceived differently. Understanding cultural nuances can help you choose an appropriate sign-off when corresponding with individuals from diverse backgrounds.

Tailoring Your Sign-Off

Now that you understand the significance of email sign-offs, it’s essential to tailor your choice based on the specific situation and your relationship with the recipient. Here are some guidelines to consider:

1. Professional vs. Casual: Match the formality of your sign-off to the nature of your email. Formal emails, such as job applications or professional requests, call for more formal sign-offs like “Sincerely” or “Best regards.” In contrast, casual emails with friends or colleagues can use more relaxed options like “Thanks” or even initials.

2. Personalization: Consider personalizing your sign-off. Using your name or initials can make your email feel more personal and genuine, especially in one-on-one conversations.

3. Consistency: Establish consistency in your sign-offs, especially in ongoing email exchanges. Consistency fosters a sense of familiarity and predictability in your communication.

4. Recipient’s Preference: Pay attention to the recipient’s preferences. If you’ve received emails from them with a specific sign-off, consider mirroring their choice to align with their communication style.

5. Cultural Awareness: If communicating with individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds, research cultural norms regarding email sign-offs to ensure your choice is respectful and appropriate.

Real-Life Examples

To better understand the practical application of these guidelines, let’s explore a few real-life scenarios and how the choice of sign-off can vary:

Scenario 1: Job Application Email

Situation: You’re sending an email to apply for a job. Appropriate Sign-Off: “Sincerely,” or “Best regards,”

In a professional context like a job application, it’s essential to convey seriousness and professionalism. Using a formal sign-off like “Sincerely” or “Best regards” aligns with the tone of the email.

Scenario 2: Meeting Request

Situation: You’re requesting a meeting with a potential client. Appropriate Sign-Off: “Best,” or “Thanks,”

In this scenario, you want to strike a balance between professionalism and friendliness. “Best” or “Thanks” work well here, as they maintain a respectful tone while expressing gratitude for their time.

Scenario 3: Email to a Friend

Situation: You’re emailing a friend about weekend plans. Appropriate Sign-Off: “Talk soon,” or “Cheers,”

When emailing friends or close colleagues, a more casual and friendly sign-off like “Talk soon” or “Cheers” is perfectly suitable. It reflects the informal nature of the conversation.

Scenario 4: Follow-Up Email

Situation: You’re sending a follow-up email after a business meeting. Appropriate Sign-Off: “Thanks,” or “All the best,”

A follow-up email requires a sign-off that combines appreciation with a warm closing. “Thanks” or “All the best” conveys your gratitude and leaves a positive impression.

Conclusion

In the realm of email communication, the sign-off may be a small detail, but it carries substantial weight. It’s a reflection of your professionalism, tone, and relationship-building skills. By understanding the nuances of different sign-offs and tailoring your choice to the situation, you can enhance the effectiveness of your emails and leave a lasting impression on your recipients.

So, as you continue crafting those important emails that can shape your personal and professional life, remember that choosing the right sign-off is not just a matter of convention; it’s an art that can set the tone for meaningful connections and successful interactions. Email away, you email virtuoso, and choose your sign-off wisely.

Written by Editors Dan Dunn and Scott Baber.

MARKMEETS – Digital media agency and content creators , leading the way in entertainment, film, television, and branding.

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