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Working out how to appropriately sign-off professional emails is often one of the most awkward parts of business comms. And getting it right is an art form.

Overly-formal emails and messages that are too casual can both be off-putting. And getting the closing wrong can make you come across as presumptive (“Look forward to hearing from you soon”), cold (“Best”), or even annoyed (no sign-off).

This tonal miscommunication can be the difference between building a strong, productive business relationship, or inadvertently nipping one in the bud.

A great email closing avoids any awkwardness and strikes the right tone – and it also motivates the reader to take the desired action.

Here’s how to get it right.

Consider your relationship with the recipient

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to professional emails: the appropriate sign-off will depend on how well you know the recipient, as well as the tone of your relationship.

That said, it’s usually better to err on the side of caution. Being too casual can cross an unspoken line for many professionals, even if you judge your relationship to be less formal.

Always include a closing remark

Email sign off isn’t just about your signature: you should always include a closing remark before your ‘Kind regards’ or ‘Thank you’. Nailing this closing remark is vital for moving the recipient towards the desired outcome, whether that be a reply, a meeting, or closing a sale.

Think of your closing remark as a CTA, and personalize it to the objective of your email – less “Hope to hear from you soon” and more “I look forward to hearing your thoughts on [x issue].” Use persuasive language to motivate the reader to take action.

Furthermore, it’s important to ensure it is both sincere and realistic. So, no “see you soon” to out-of-town contacts.

Use an appropriate sign-off before your name

Everyone has personal preferences when it comes to email sign-offs.

This is why it’s best to play it safe with a commonly-used sign-off – especially for recipients you’re contacting for the first time. This is one area of your email where trying to stand out from the crowd and do something different doesn’t always go down well.

Commonly used professional email sign-offs include:

  • Best regards
  • Best wishes
  • Kind regards
  • Many thanks
  • Thank you
  • Sincerely

If it’s the first time you’re reaching out to a recipient, you should also use your full name.

Ensure your email signature is updated

Your professional email signature should include the following:

  • Name
  • Job title
  • Company name/logo
  • Company address
  • Company website
  • Email address
  • Phone number
  • LinkedIn
  • The logos of any current awards your company has received or events you’re participating in

It’s essential to keep all these details regularly updated to ensure your company seems both legitimate and switched on.

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