As a graduate student, I signed emails to friends and family with Starshine and gingerbread, or Colorwheelingly yours, or really any other irreverent and irrelevant email signature. I knew this love-peace-happiness style closer wasn’t the right way to end a professional missive, which led me on a quest to find the “perfect” email closer at my first desk-job job.
Spoiler alert: there isn’t one right way to end an email. How you say goodbye to someone outside your friend group depends entirely on the situation. To help you out, we’ve devised a variety of scenarios you may encounter in the workplace, and given you starter ideas for wrapping up your emails in style. Just don't use 'best,' which is so boring.
1. When you realllllllllly need a response
Whether you need and answer to move forward on a project, or are really hoping for a favor, look no further than everyone’s favorite indicator, big data. According to a study by Boomerang last year, emails that end with a variation of Thanks had a significantly higher response rate than any other sign off.
Ideas: Thanks in advance; Thanks for being awesome; Many thanks; Thank you!
2. When you’re asking for a meeting
Maybe you’re emailing the CFO to try and get an informational interview over coffee, or are hoping to chat with a VP about giving a direct report feedback. In these cases, aim for how your sign-off can help make it easy for them to say “Yes!"
Ideas: Won’t take more than 20 minutes; Coffee’s on me; Looking forward to your insight
3. When you’re BFF with your coworkers
Even if you have a secret handshake with a coworker, and they know how many couches you have in your living room, it still behooves you to keep it reasonably professional when on the clock (especially over company email servers) — though humor is encouraged.
Ideas: Rock on; Keep up the good work; Nothing like sending you an email
4. When someone did you a solid
Coworkers often go above and beyond their job description to help you out. Sending them a little encouragement and gratitude goes a long way to their willingness to help you again.
Ideas: Killin’ it; You’re the best; Holy macaroni, thank you; Can I write you a Linkedin rec?
5. When you really don’t want to think about it
Having a go-to sign off is key for moving forward with your work day. Find one that speaks to your writing style and personality — for example, I’m a rather peppy person, so closing with Cheers! makes total sense.
Ideas: With gratitude; Aloha; Hope your Monday is going well
6. When sending from your mobile device
One place where it’s almost ubiquitously ok to be a little random/weird is when sending a message from your phone — even in the professional realm.
Ideas: Sent from my iPhone; Zapped from my raygun; Sent with magic; Big ideas from a tiny phone
7. And finally, when you’re not sure what to say.
When in doubt, Thanks or talk soon is never a bad choice.
Writing an email closer that considers your audience, alludes to your email's contents and that fits your style can take a second of thought — but how we are perceived is often in the smaller details. That's worth the time.
When Alicia was 17, she wrote an essay titled "I Am a Snail Watcher." The themes of that essay—noticing tiny details, celebrating small victories, and rooting for the under-appreciated—still apply to her daily life and affect her writing.
This article was written by a FGB Contributor.