Email communication is everywhere. From emails sent for marketing purposes to those sent as communication between friends.

Although emails between friends are not as common as business emails, they offer an opportunity to be updated on the other person’s life.

From when they started being used, emails have become popular and are nowadays used for nearly every formal communication.

With this widespread use, there has been a need to develop guidelines on how best to write emails. There are those methods taught in school many years ago.

Then there are those learned in the “real” world.

Regardless of the differences, there are things which remain standard.

And just like rules, these are expected to be followed so as to ensure the communication is effective.

Email Sign-Offs

Everything that has a beginning has an end. This applies to emails too.

As you begin an email with an appropriate salutation, so are you expected to end it accordingly.

When it comes to emails, closing is more than a mere “goodbye” moment. More than just indicating the end of your email, your closing paints a picture. It is the last word in the communication you send.

Remember that as opposed to a face-to-face conversation, email communication is mostly one-way until a reply is received.

It is similar to the old walkie talkies which passed information only in one direction at a time.

The recipient of the message would have to digest what had been said then respond if required to.

But walkie talkies were a bit faster in the sense that you would be speaking to someone almost in real time. Emails rarely function like this.

Unless the other person is replying immediately, there would be a delay in time. Possibly hours, days or even weeks.

With that in mind, it is important that the last word you say wraps up your message in the right way.

EMAIL CLOSINGS TO AVOID

It is wise to look at how you should handle this portion of your communication.

Below we look at some of the email closings which are not suited for business communication.

More than that, after the list is a sample of alternatives you can use.

Best Regards

This email closing is one of the most commonly used.

Whereas its popularity makes it an easy winner, questions may arise from its usage.

First of all, the word regards is used for salutation. Yes, it is used for greetings.

This noun has several meanings. Take a look at Merriam-Webster’s dictionary and you will get the picture. Meaning 4 part b(2) says that this word is used to show friendliness in greetings.

Now, think about it. You have just written an email and you obviously greeted the intended recipient. Whether you used words like Dear sir or madam, Hello or Hi, why would you want to do it again?

To make it worse, at the end of your email?

And that’s not all, the regards you are giving are apparently the best.

Really?

Rgds

Those who use this say it is the short form of Regards.

But this is simply going too far with the desire to shorten words. It is too much of an attempt to shorten a word which is already short.

This particular one makes very little sense if any.

An easy way to tell between a correct shortening and a wrong one is to read it aloud.

For example, there are names like Beth coming from Elizabeth and Mike shortened from Michael.

Read these aloud and you will agree that they make sense.

But read Rgds aloud. How do you pronounce that?

If you are emailing your buddy and this is the kind of words you two use, that is fine. However, keep in mind that this is not for formal communication like that done in business emails.

If you ended your email with this and it was your first communication with someone serious, you might be seen as lazy.

Too lazy to type out three letters to make the word complete. 

Thanks

This is a word used to show gratitude. Using it means you are appreciating what someone has done for you.

In most cases, it is a favor done for you. You either asked for it or the person just saw it fit to do you a favor. Or maybe they just did more than you expected of them.

You are therefore thanking them.

If you have written an email for the sole reason of thanking someone for something, then this is okay. But if that is not the case, don’t use it.

Using it might send the wrong message. The recipient might wonder what you are thanking them for.

Since email writing is not the same as text writing, the person will certainly make a conclusion.

This conclusion would be what will stick as an opinion about you or your business.

Thanks again

This is another version of the above closing. But there is something about it.

Not only are you thanking the person you are emailing, you are doing it again.

Just as in the example above, if there is something you are thanking the person for, that’s okay. If not, you are better off using a different closing.

The word again indicates some emphasis. It indicates that although you have thanked the person, you see the need to do it again.

Did he do something very big to deserve being thanked a couple of times? If so, go ahead. If not, delete the word and use an alternative.

On the downside, this closing can work against you in a big way. Keep in mind that your closing has to be aligned to the content of your email.

Let us say you are sending a sales pitch to a prospect you have been following up on.

Then in your closing, you use any of the sign-offs from the Thanks category. This could be seen as a covert way of trying to get the prospect to buy.

All sales communication is meant to persuade someone to buy. But when you do this, you are trying too hard to sell.

The question is, are you a good salesman or a desperate one?

Sincerely

This is a completely no-no for business emails.

As much as the word seems to be portraying a good character trait, it is the wrong one to use.

Yes, sincerity may point to integrity but this is not the right way to show your integrity.

Do you remember when you wrote your cover letter? How did you end it?

Yes, sincerely is the appropriate closing for a cover letter. It is very formal and is used when making applications.

If you are not applying for a job, don’t use this closing.

Cheers

“Here’s to our continued friendship,” you say. In agreement, the other person says “cheers” as he raises his glass.

That’s right. This word is used to mark a celebration.

As a closing however, it is used when emailing friends. But this is not for everyone.

Cheers is used by the British to end conversations.

As such, can be used between two people of British origin.

If you don’t fall into this category, don’t use the word.

Ciao

This is a real closing, only that it is foreign to the English world.

It is used in Italian circles and is very common among Italians.

But as it happens, it’s usually easy and probably even fun to adapt new words into English.

Especially when those words feel or sound good.

If you are emailing an Italian whom you are friends with, you can close like this. If not, then drop the word.

TTYL/TTYS

First things first, what do these initials mean?

TTYL – Talk To You Later.

TTYS – Talk To You Soon.

There are some basic rules which apply to writing business emails and general official communication. One of them is that you should always avoid contractions and abbreviations.

These tend to make the communication become too informal.

Some abbreviations are also not very common. Others have multiple meanings.

This is why it is just best to avoid them.

Moreover, these sound pretty immature for the business world.

These are not suited at all for email writing. They are only good for texting close friends or when ending a chat message.

TAFN

As with the abbreviations above this one, this is not ideal for email communication.

TAFN – That’s All For Now.

In all practical sense, abbreviations cannot even gain much popularity among email writers.

The context for which they are used demand a total departure from grammar and other formal communication rules.

That is why they will most likely be used only in text chats.

If they were to be used in emails, then the nature of the email communication would drastically change. There would be no grammar rules to be enforced. Only a liberal use of “new” words.

Looking Forward to Hearing from You

This is a common one especially when you are expecting some form of response from the person you are emailing. Whereas it may not sound or feel wrong, there is still a problem with it.

The fact that you are expecting feedback is okay, but reminding the person that you are expecting it is not okay.

When you use this closing, you are indirectly putting pressure on the recipient to reply to your email.

This sign-off has the psychological effect of making the recipient feel guilty if they don’t respond.

There can however be an exception.

In most cases, this is used when making certain types of applications or requests.

If you are doing so and the recipient is an organization receiving applications from people unknown to it, you can use it.

But if the email is to a prospect you haven’t met in person, forget it.

You need to have discussed your product and gotten an assurance that there is a possibility of being considered.

If you did this, then the sign off would be fine.

It will serve to remind the prospect of your meeting or conversation and the reason for your writing.

Speak With You Soon

This is similar to the one above only that it puts the pressure on you.

You are actually putting pressure on yourself and committing to follow up on the communication you have initiated.

It is important to understand the nature of true and effective communication.

The other person must receive your message and understand it. He is also supposed to respond before you say more to him.

With the pressure on you, are you aware that you might forget to speak with him soon?

When you commit yourself like this, you will most likely give the other person a license to be passive.

They can choose to remain quiet awaiting your follow-up mail.

Who loses?

More Soon

Similar to speak with you soon only that in this case you are actually making an even bigger commitment.

This is similar to when you are tasked with carrying out a feasibility study. You deliver a report but then promise to give a more comprehensive one later.

When is later? No-one really knows. Not even you.

At least because you didn’t specify the duration.

If this is academic work, are you expecting to proceed to the next level?

As far as your words of more soon are concerned, the job you did is incomplete. You shouldn’t have submitted it in the first place.

The same applies to your email ending with this closing.

What you are saying is that you did not give all the information required. More will be coming soon.

As a result, you should not expect any reply, unless it’s a one-worded reply like “Okay.”

Make sure you send the additional information soon.

XOXO

This is a terrible one to use.

Never in a business setup should this appear. Not only is it informal but it’s also completely inappropriate.

The meaning of these four letters will show you why.

According to Urban Dictionary, these letters mean hugs and kisses.

Is this what you are writing to your boss, a colleague, or a customer?

What if they asked you, “Who exactly are you hugging and kissing?”

Unless you are emailing someone you are intimate with, avoid this completely.

No matter how good your friendship is, this is no way to end your email. Some people are good to relate with in a casual sense.

But if you misinterpret that to mean you can get this far with them, it might come across as disrespectful.

Once the label is on you, there will no longer be any goodwill for a mutually-beneficial relationship.

Ending With Your First Initial

This is a weird one. So weird that it’s actually confusing.

Let’s say your first initial is the letter A. If this is the last thing written in your email, on its own line, what exactly is to be thought of it?

The one reading your email may conclude that it’s a sign-off, but who is the sender?

America? Antelope? Anaconda?

There are many guesses and they can get really wild. You don’t want to leave it to people to guess your name. The results may not be funny.

Furthermore, are you really expecting some relationship to build.

For the sake of clarity, even if your name makes part of your email address, take the time to type it out properly. Don’t use your initials.

Ending With Your Name

If you think that this is better than closing with your first initial, you are wrong.

Yes, you have typed out your name in full, but couldn’t you type in something else to show some courtesy?

Finishing your email with your name only is rather cold. It’s intimidating.

Are you intending to make your recipient intimidated? Unless you are a mean boss. More of a dictator.

In that case, be assured that you are losing a lot. The people you are working with are not giving you their best, regardless of what you think.

Also, you could have many other opportunities to link with great people but your demeanor is pushing them away.

You should learn how to relate with people and increase your chances of living a better life.

Ending With No Sign-Off

Like ending with your name, this is equally bad.

This is not, and it cannot be understood as, a way of showing that you are in a hurry.

This is simply rude.

As if that is not enough, have you finished your message?

It’s not clear because there is no closing in your email.

The email closing is a part of the communication. It indicates that the message has come to an end.

Otherwise it will not be known whether you sent the email unintentionally before finishing the writing.

This could indicate that you were not keen when drafting the email.

Something that could mean you don’t value the recipient.

RECOMMENDED EMAIL CLOSINGS TO USE

With all the above email closings being problematic, here are some examples which you could comfortably use.

These are applicable in various situations as mentioned.

All the same, there is always the issue of considering the relationship between you and the email recipient.

Some of the above sign-offs may not be the best but in a particular setting, you might be able to use them.

Here are the recommended ways to sign your email.

Best

This simple closing is used by many people. The main reason is that it is short enough to be typed quickly without losing meaning.

As you would agree, writing Best is way better than Rgds in any setting. Unless it’s very informal.

At the same time, when compared with Best Regards, the removal of the second word makes it cleaner. It also feels more open as opposed to tying it to some regards.

Hope This Helps

This is best for those instances when you are providing someone with some information. It may be an inquiry or some other form of request made to you.

You will often have sourced for the information, i.e. if it’s not something you are currently aware of. Having put in efforts to give as much and relevant information as possible, you then close with this.

Something else about this is that it allows the recipient to request for more information. Or to seek some clarification.

Being open to more communication, especially when you are being helpful to others, builds stronger relationships. You get to be seen in good light.

I Can’t Thank You Enough

There will always be an opportunity to appreciate someone for something they have done. As mentioned about the sign-off Thanks, make sure you are thanking someone for something.

This one in particular seems to be going deeper.

You are essentially expressing your gratitude from your heart. And to recognize that your words aren’t enough, you show that your appreciation of them is really sincere.

In view of that, this might be better preserved for situations where whatever has been done for you is quite big. Otherwise it might come off as exaggerated.

With Appreciation

This closing is very appropriate for “small” favors. If you asked someone to do something that is not very far from their duties, you can thank them using this.

Nevertheless, it can be used in more ways than that.

For example, you might be in need of something that can only be provided by someone.

When making the request, you can utilize this instead of the more common Looking forward to… family of sign-offs.

Just note that this one is very formal.

As such, it might be best for people you respect a lot, even though you may be at the same level or rank.

Enjoy Your [Day of the Week]

This is good for those emails which are not very serious.

If you have developed a rapport with the other person, then this one is okay. It has a formal angle to it but isn’t too stiff to be reserved only for serious business.

If the day of the week is Friday, this can be a very good way of ending your email. It automatically gets the person thinking of the weekend. It also creates a joyful atmosphere as it lightens them up.

Have a Great Day

For the good wishes and an alternative way of going about it, this is a great one. It is also time-tested though isn’t a cliché.

It is general in nature so it doesn’t go overboard like the initials TGIF (Thanks God It’s Friday) would. It is short, straight to the point and does what it’s supposed to do—signify the end of the email.

SIGNING YOUR EMAILS CREATIVELY

Obviously, these are not the only options. Just as some people came up with common closings and created a standard, so can you also come up with something unique.

In your creativity though, you have to be careful.

The business world is largely reserved. It is also a serious one. Unless you are in the art industry, your creativity may not be appreciated by all.

To get you started, here are some examples.

Have a Fantastic Monday

To many, this might be an oxymoron since very few people expect Monday to be a fantastic day. But when you wish someone a fantastic Monday, they might actually experience it.

First, this closing strikes them as odd but they soon catch the subtle humor in it. As such, it can easily get into their memory and they will remember it.

Psychologically speaking, this will make the recipient’s mind want to experience a fantastic day. As such, It will seek to create the environment for the experience.

Hope Your Week’s Off to a Good Start

This is another uncommon one.

Actually, this is something that people say to one another in face-to-face and phone conversations. And it can be used in emails too.

It indicates a genuine hope that things are going in the right direction.

Saw That It’ll Be [Hot/Cold] in [Receiver’s City] – Stay [Cool/Warm]

This is a sure way of personalizing your email. It shows that you are either thinking about the recipient or you are just well informed.

But more than that, you wish them comfort.

For more examples like these, check out this link and stir up your mind for better ways of ending your emails.

CONCLUSION

Though no list can be complete, this can work as a guide.

Apart from the recommended closings, exercise your creativity and sign your emails better.

'Best Regards' and Other Phrases You Should Never Use to Sign Your Email

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