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 TTFN 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.
How to close an email…
...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!
...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;
...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; any nSync-related gif; Keep up the good work; Nothing like sending you an email;
...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?
...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;
Pro tip: if you’re ever not sure how your closing reads, have a friend or two give you feedback.
...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
And finally, when you’re not sure what to say.
When in doubt, All the best 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 preceived is often in the smaller details.
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.
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