By February 22, 2012 Read More →

What’s your favourite email sign-off?

Email sign-offI was corresponding with Charlie Dalton of Smart Garden Offices the other day when he wrote at the end of his email, ‘What’s the best way to sign off an email? I never know, and secretly wonder if I get it horribly wrong :-)’

Well, me too, although I’ve never consciously thought about it before. I picked up ‘All best’ several years ago from my MA writing tutor, who was also a self-employed writer and editor, and I’ve noticed it’s commonly used by people in the publishing business. I liked it because it was brisk and business-like, but sometimes I wonder whether some people might find it a bit curt. When in doubt I usually revert to ‘With best wishes’ or just ‘Best wishes’ but it always seems so bland.

And do you ever use more affectionate terms to someone you originally met through business? Sometimes it’s quite straightforward – I teamed up with my fellow BIG Jelly organisers Fay Easton and Jan Minihane through a mutual enthusiasm for coworking, but the stresses of organising a major event soon brought us together. You’ve heard of blood brothers; well, we are Jelly sisters and we needed that love and kisses! If you meet someone for coffee and seem to get on well, do you start to sign off with a x?

In the old days of letter writing the rule was always M&S, like the chain store – if you started with Mr, Mrs etc, then you signed off ‘Yours sincerely’. If you began with Sir or Madam, it was ‘Yours faithfully’. It’s less clear-cut in these digital days. What’s your favourite sign-off? Or is there one you just hate or that would put you off the sender?

Posted in: Routine

37 Comments on "What’s your favourite email sign-off?"

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  1. Rosie Smart says:

    I tend to use “best wishes” or “kind regards”, but most commonly use “many thanks” especially when asking for something.

  2. I usually sign off with best regards – but after reading your post it does sound a bit formal. I usually reserve scattering my kisses at the end of an email for friends rather than clients. It might scare some of them off!

  3. Good question!

    I tend to use Kind Regards now but always used to use With best wishes but that just seems too gushy now for some reason. I quite like All the best or Best- maybe will mix it up a bit more in future! Would be keen to see what other suggestions people come up with!

  4. It depends on the relationship with the client and the context of the email. The same goes for the greeting too. I am OK with ‘Dear’ or ‘Hi’ (if you know me) but I find that if someone just uses ‘Andy’ it leaves me a bit cold.

    What is interesting is that, after a while, you can usually tell a person’s personality from the way they write an email and you can use their language and style of writing to respond.

    Doing that tends to build a little bit of email rapport.

  5. Judy says:

    The worst is when they use both first name and surname, because then you know it’s a mass mailing or something very anonymous.

  6. Sheree Lowe says:

    As with Andy, depends on the relationship with the person. “Kind regards” for polite and formal, “Cheerio :-)” for informal, and “Sxx” for extra informal 🙂

    But a combination of being a VA (and therefore in frequent contact and very close relationships with clients) and my own signature informality I think makes Sxx completely fine for me – though I’m sure it will be frowned upon by some!

  7. AJ says:

    I see many folks use “Warm Regards” in the business world but that seems a little too affectionate as well.

    Btw, I also like that word louche. I’ll be using that one. 🙂

    • Judy says:

      Hi AJ, I don’t think I’ve come across that, but I like it for someone you know quite well. Some words just feel good to use, don’t they?

  8. Andrew Bailey says:

    I used to not have one at all, just my name.

    Then, I noticed that someone who responded to me was using, “With kind regards,”

    I liked the sound of that, so I started using it on my emails and just by having it there I felt my emails were posh-er and now it’s been on the end of all my sign-offs for the past few years

    On my iphone and ipad, I put, “sent from my iPad. Please excuse brevity and typos” which I think helps to make my hastily tapped responses that have auto correct errors or are short (because it’s bloomin hard to type long replies on the iphone) much easier to handle

    • Judy says:

      Aha, another email sign-off jackdaw! I do like your iPhone and iPad message and I’m sure it must endear people to you 🙂 Pedants like me, anyway.
      Thanks for the Commentluv love!

  9. Candace says:

    I normally go with plain “regards”. Whether this means I am not kind, I am not sure. I sometimes go with “Best” on its own, which now I think about it probably looks silly. Also been known to venture the occasional “cheers” !

    • Judy says:

      Funny how insecure we can be about our choices, isn’t it? I’ve started to use Cheers as well, but wonder whether it’s a bit butch! But I like its upbeatness.

  10. Kaitlyn says:

    When I first starting to use email a lot in a professional context I was totally baffled by the best terms to use. For a long time I signed off with things like “Have a fantastic day” or “Have a lovely day” but then if I got multiple emails from someone in that day it seemed a bit silly. So I went to ‘Regards’ or ‘Kind regards’.

    Now I’m far less sticky about it. I sign off with what feels right in context to the person I’m emailing. Sometimes that’s ‘Best wishes’, sometimes it’s just my name, sometimes I don’t sign off at all because it’s more of a conversation done via email.

    • Judy says:

      Good point, Kaitlyn, I often prefer to launch in and not bother with the niceties of greetings and sign-offs, particularly if emails are going back and forth regularly.
      Starting to use Twitter had a noticeable effect on my emails – I had to make a real effort not to be too brusque! In fact I wonder whether a 140 character email format would be a good option to save time…

  11. Phil says:

    I often sign off with “Yours, etc.” which has the advantage of being both brief and descriptive, as well as leaving the recipient to make up their own mind as to what the “etcetera” actually represents!

    • Judy says:

      This is great, Phil, but have you actually got an answer in case someone asks about the ‘etc’ and wants to claim it? 🙂

  12. Lucie Dickens says:

    I do tend to use “Many Thanks” as a preference, but identify when it is not really appropriate. I then would use similar terminology as the sender if I do not know them well.

    Again with people I know well it may depend on the tone of the email exchange and content.

  13. Judy says:

    Hi Lucie, I also use the same as the sender if it’s someone I don’t know and then gradually get less formal as the correspondence develops… to the point sometimes where there is no greeting or sign-off!

  14. San Sharma says:

    Hi Judy,

    Great post! Feel like I’m a bit late to the party 🙂 But here’s what I do: I tend to employ a bit of NLP in my email sign off! You know that thing about mirroring people’s body language, which I think I do on a subconscious level in meetings (cross your legs, I’ll cross mine too, etc.)? In email, the original sender sets the tone in terms of sign-off. However, when I go first I tend to go with “all the best” or sometimes “cheers”. I prefer the informal, if I’m honest – and am a habitual nicknamer too. Not in a mean way! It’s always affectionate.


    • Judy says:

      I’m intrigued by the nicknames – presumably only for people you know and not suddenly thrown in to an email eg Hi Shorty. Could be interesting 🙂

  15. Austin says:

    Depends on my Mood, I normally use ” Best Regards ” … Judy i must say that’s sweet topic you have choose 🙂

  16. Judy Mansfield says:

    My colleagues use Kind Regards but I have trouble with ‘kind’ – no idea why! I use Regards, or more often, ‘Sincerely’. Don’t like ‘Cheers’ sounds a bit ‘in the pub’ matey-ish

    I’ll sometimes use ‘With best regards’ if I want to be warmer. I wish we had an equivalent to the French ‘Cordialement’. I like that!

    All the best ! Toodle Pip!

  17. Judy says:

    I have that problem with ‘kind’ too, Judy. I think it’s because I feel it doesn’t fit the context – strange because it’s an accepted term, but it doesn’t sit right with me somehow.
    I’m beginning to think we need some new sign-offs, but my mind’s blank!

  18. Sharon says:

    Depends who I am writing to – formally ‘kind regards’, informally ‘best wishes’ and to my closer work friends there’s sometimes an ‘x’ or two 🙂

    • Judy says:

      Have to admit I went back to the emails you sent last week..and I was the honoured recipient of an ‘x’. Chuffed 🙂
      What’s noticeable is that we all have our own little codes denoting levels of familiarity and affection, but nobody else understands them or would be able to decipher them. And probably best not to try!

  19. Paul says:

    ‘Best’ makes me laugh in way, because it’s so meaningless, but I’ve used it myself, as a way of saying, ‘I guess I have to use some kind of sign-off here, but we all know it’s meaningless, so let’s make that clear.’ ‘Thanks’ is the most meaningful when it’s at all relevant. ‘All the best’ is my way of being effusive sometimes, but for frequent email contact with the same person, you can’t beat just your name. It implies familiarity, and putting something unnecessary and meaningless before it actually signals an insecurity in the relationship.

    • Judy says:

      Hi Paul, an interesting comment, thanks. As I just replied to Sharon, the comments to this post have made me realise how we all have our own personal codes denoting familiarity and affection. What you say about just putting your name reminds me of a friend leaving me a note years ago addressed to ‘J’. I was rather hurt as I thought he couldn’t be bothered to write my whole name, until he explained it was a sign of affection! And I only ever do that for my partner, I’d never think of it for anyone else! Wow, what a complex web in such an apparently simple action!

  20. Catharine says:

    For a work e-mail I mainly use “best regards”, occasionally “kind regards”, I suppose “warm regards” would be good if there was particularly reason to feel warmly towards the e-mail recipient 😉 . I can’t see myself using anything less ‘formal’ but maybe that’s because I’ve never met the vast majority of people I write professional e-mails to in English (not sure if the question of whether having met the e-mail recipient changes something has been raised in previous comments). However like Sam Sharma (#23) I also tend to mirror the sender’s sign-off if I’m the least bit unsure.

    • Judy says:

      Good point, Catharine, I expect if you’ve met the person and liked them, your sign-off would be warmer. If you weren’t keen, however, you might stick to the more formal!

  21. Aaron says:

    This is a great topic. Who would have thought so much could be read into how you sign off on an email. I personally use Best Regards, but after reading this I think it may be a bit too formal or incorrect. I’m also not sure about the “kind” or “warm”. I will be watching for some new ideas now. To respond to some business/lead replies I am thinking something like: To Your Success. Cheezy or relevant?

    • Judy says:

      Depends if you’re American! I see that frequently on American sites and emails, but I don’t think I ever have on UK ones. It seems we Brits are a bit more reticent about these things, but you could start a trend of course 🙂
      Best wishes

  22. Jennie Wood says:

    It is an interesting subject this one.

    I’m afraid I’m a bit anti just using “regards” on its own as it can imply a lack of connection and interest, I think. And, depending on the context, can translate as deliberately stand offish.

    My pet hates when it comes to this stuff though:
    – “br” and other similar sign off acronyms. Very corporate.
    – signing off with no personal message, but instead leaving it to the soulless signature.

    • I’m glad you made that final point, Jennie, as I must admit when I see people with just a signature, I am tempted by the time-saving possibilities. But I’m well aware you can take being a minimalist a bit too far. You might also like my post about short emails, which some people didn’t take to!