Millions of emails are being sent in a day. However, only a few people know how to write a professional email the right way—especially the last step.
When writing a professional email, it’s essential to have an appropriate closing remark. But how do we choose the right one?
Learn from the insights these experts shared to make sure your email is perfect before you hit the send button.
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Licensed Corporate Etiquette and International Protocol Consultant | Trainer | Speaker
Use a closing that fits the relationship you have with the recipient
Just as a business letter needs a sign-off, a business email also needs a sign-off or closing to indicate the conclusion of the email body and to close it professionally.
Use a closing that fits the rapport and relationship you have with the recipient. For example, an appropriate first-time response to someone you do not know would be “Sincerely“.
Great all-purpose closings are “Kind regards” and “Best regards“.
If you have greater rapport or closeness to the recipient, you may use “Warmly” or “Warm regards“.
Sometimes on a quick back and forth email thread, you may simply use “Thank you“.
Jodi RR Smith
Etiquette Consultant, Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting
Always end with an action
As you close out your email, be sure to be definitive in what needs to happen next. If you needed information from the person, something such as “I look forward to hearing your response by the 20th” will work.
If you need to speak with the person, something such as “I will call your office on Tuesday at 10:00. If that time does not work with your schedule, please let me know when you would prefer to speak.”
Or if you owe information to the person, something such as “Thank you for your inquiry, I will have that information to you by COB Wednesday.”
Sign Off: Be sure your closing matching the tone of the email.
If it is a formal correspondence: “Sincerely” or “Regards” will work.
If it is more information in tone: “Warmly” or “Best” will do the job.
Chair of the Board, Bunker Labs | Co-founder, Gauze | Instructor
Use various sign-offs
I wear three hats: founder of Gauze, the world’s most comprehensive digital network of hospitals around the world, instructor of professional development at Temple University, and chair of the board of a veteran service organization—Bunker Labs.
In each role, I may use a different sign-off.
For my students, I advocate for a form of ‘Regards.’ I personally prefix it with ‘kind’ as I believe everyone deserves a little kindness. It sets the tone of the aftermath of the email into a positive attribute versus the common ‘best regards.’
For my business, I often sign off with ‘Be well.’ We are a healthcare technology company that informs and connects the 1.3B international travelers who may find themselves sick abroad via app/API to appropriate healthcare so ending communication with ‘Be well,’ puts people in the right frame of mind, body, and spirit. We DO want them to be well and know that our service helps people attain that.
Finally, many veterans with whom I interact at Bunker Labs are taught by the military to sign off as V/R which stands for ‘Very Respectfully.’ I counsel many to write the entire phrase out instead of just the initials, as many civilians are unaware of what that stands for. It is a term of deep esteem and quite commonly used in military communication.
Founder, Aurelian Coaching
Make sure your last sentence is uplifting
One option for ending professional emails that alleviates some of the uncertainty about appropriate closing greetings is to simply sign off with your first name, without using any closing greeting at all.
If you’re concerned that this approach is too abrupt, one strategy I recommend is paying attention to the tone of the last sentence in your email.
If you want the email to be received positively, make sure your last sentence is uplifting and maybe ends with an exclamation point.
If the email is directive, make sure the last line encourages the person to act.
If the email’s tone is apologetic, suggest your atonement as the last line.
All of these can be done before signing off with just your first name as a closing.
Consider who you are sending the email to
People spend so much time crafting clear email copy that the sign-off sometimes becomes nothing more than an afterthought. It’s typically only one or two words, but it actually serves as an important finishing touch to an email and is an opportunity to reiterate the overall tone.
The two most important things to keep in mind when closing out an email is who you are sending it to and the context and tone of your copy. Like just about anything in communications, knowing your audience is important.
If you’re sending the message to a co-worker you have a good and strong working relationship with the sign-off will be different than if you’re sending it to say an acquaintance or a company’s CEO you’ve never met.
The next thing you need to consider is the context. Is the subject of the email positive? Is it tough news you’re responsible for delivering? Perhaps a request? A classic “Best,” sign-off is our go-to if we know the recipient and works great if you’re delivering general information, but is probably not the right tone if you’ve just sent some news that won’t make the recipient very happy.
As a general rule, you can’t go wrong sticking with a more buttoned-up, professional approach during an initial exchange. For this, we recommend “regards”, “sincerely”, or “best wishes”.
Communications Manager, SafeMoney
It depends on the industry you are in
Some thoughts based on the low-millions volume of emails we send out each year, between our brokerage and consumer-educational operations:
The closing salutation is very important, and in my experience, it depends on your organization’s business model as well as the industry you are in.
For recruiting-driven models like ours, some of our best-performing email communications — and email marketing — incorporate a lightly personable but still professional tone.
Actual closing salutations that we have used are: “Thanks,” “Our best to you,” “All the best,” “Best regards,” and even “Wishing you the best in your business.”
While warm, they do not include exclamation points. Nor do they have other similar punctuation that might communicate too much a sense of familiarity or casualness that is inappropriate for the business relationship at that stage.
Before the closing salutation, our marketing emails often end by expressing a note of thanks for the recipient taking the time to consider the offer, request a quote, read content, or perform a certain action.
Since this is a service-based model, the focus is on ensuring the email recipient has a warm, human interaction in all points of contact with our organization. The end result is customers respond to those messages, or even decide to buy into a program, based on those positive experiences. They state this in their feedback and subsequent conversations with us.
If the email recipient is someone we have interacted with for a while — but not necessarily yet a recruit or a business associate — this principle holds even a bit more. Say we are approaching the end of a business week.
It’s not unusual for an email to be encapsulated by wishing them a good weekend. Again, these closures make sense for service-driven small business models because they help build the relationship through an appropriate but light, personable touch.
Dana Dussing Berry
PR Account Manager, Stone Ward
As a PR practitioner, the ways I recommend ending a professional email include the following:
- Very best,
- Very best to you,
- Kind regards,
- Best to you,
Each of these is gracious, to the point and will likely not be misinterpreted, when other sign-offs may.
For example, “cheers” may offend a non-drinker, “respectfully” can be too staid unless it’s a legal matter or a complete stranger, and “sincerely” is better for handwritten notes.
Insurance Consultant, Life Insurance 420
Ask yourself – what is the main purpose of your email
In a professional e-mail, when it comes to ending the email, it’s best to focus on the main objective for your communication, so it should generally end with a question.
We don’t want to pepper our clients with questions throughout the note as to overwhelm them, so try to narrow it down to one. Separate it into its own line and make it the last line of the email.
Ask yourself – what is the main purpose of your email, and what is the next step you want to happen to move things forward.
Then the sign off from there is any matter of preference.
Sometimes, “Thanks” and your name is appropriate if you’re truly thanking them for something, but also something like “Sincerely” and “Best” or even just your name is fine.
If you’re asking for help, you could say “Thanks in advance for any information you’re able to provide“. Honestly, this part of the email is a mere glance and not important. Be different if you like, be simple, and just be polite.
As a general rule of thumb, the word “Thanks” is very overused in business emails and means almost nothing. Exclamation points are also overused.
In business, if you’re providing value to your client, you shouldn’t have to constantly thank them. You should be working hard to share insightful information so that they can be better at their job. Their role is not to do you favors, so just be direct, polite, appreciative, and bring value instead of just always begging for things.
Every salesperson “would love” you to do something for them, so try to be more productive with your words. “I would appreciate the opportunity” is more realistic.