Sincere, authentic-sounding communication at work matters. Some would argue it can make or break how you’re seen as a professional.
Of course, as with any advice article regarding language, it’s worth noting: some womxn, aware of the disproportionate amount of scrutiny they face overall in professional environments, have internalized the idea that each and every word they include in an email really, seriously matters. We don’t want to sound too meek or too forceful. We’ve been told we “shouldn’t use so many exclamation points” and that we should “quit apologizing for everything already.” And that’s not even to mention the added forms of language-based scrutiny that women of color may find themselves on the receiving end of.
All of this is to say: at the end of the day, your exact word choice in emails really shouldn’t be something you’re made to agonize over. But sounding authentic is important — because being authentic, at work and in all areas of life, is important.
So, the next time you’re tempted to close an email with a jargon-y, glib phrase, consider using one of the following tactics instead.
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. People want to feel appreciated and that the value of their time is being acknowledged — shocking, right? “Thanks in advance,” though a trifle presumptuous, was also well responded to in Boomerang’s study.
Same logic as above— an expression of gratitude can work wonders.
In more ordinary times, “take care” can sound a little cloying. But we aren’t in normal times. If your email hasn’t already explicitly referred to today’s circumstances (hopefully using words other than “hope you’re doing okay during these wild times”), a nod to the fact we’re working under some pretty extreme circumstances in your closer can’t hurt.
When the content of your email is referring to something on the horizon, this can be a nice, positive note to end things on.
Appropriate for situations in which you will, indeed, talk to the other party soon.
Appropriate for situations in which you aren’t, in fact, sure that you’ll talk to the other party soon, but you’d like to.
Some may find this stilted. I personally do think it’s a little antiquated, but in a way that’s charming, mostly because it isn’t overused. As soon as its usage slips into “warm regards” or “sincerely” territory, however, it’s over.
When all else fails, and when none of the other circumstances described above strictly apply, there’s nothing wrong with a plain-and-simple “best.” It gets the job done.
Rather than being an improvement on “best,” this instead sounds a little forced. Better to stick with the pared-down version.
Pretty much any combo with “regards in it” can be tossed.
Even today’s most formal emails hardly require a “sincerely” sign-off.
Is this a greeting card? If not, it’s a little overly saccharine.
Maybe, against the world’s current backdrop, you sincerely mean this — you hope the other party continues to be well. It still comes off as a bit trite, however; “take care” serves this purpose better.
Unless the person you’re emailing is a coworker with whom you’re in pretty constant contact, signing off with simply a dash or with your initials feels cold.
Why have so many of us allowed ourselves to mistake a product plug from Apple for an acceptable sign-off message? If you need to make the point within your email that you’re on a mobile device and will need to respond in more detail later, try actually spelling that out.
No matter what way you slice it, this rings as a smidge presumptuous. “Thanks in advance” hits on the same note of “you WILL respond to this,” but in a slightly better way.
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