You tell me! I use Best wishes 98.9% of the time. But is that the best way to sign off a work email?
Which phrase do you like? Are you more formal or do you like to be chatty? Memorable? Down with the kids?
The Best Way to Sign Off an Email
There are lots of different expressions but I’m not convinced that any of them is perfect. What’s wrong with just writing from like we did as kids? For me, Best wishes is the best of a not so brilliant selection. Do let me know what your preferred parting words are in the Comments. Here are a few options…
The go-to farewell for work emails. But what does it even mean?
The dictionary defines regards (in this instance) as “sentiments of esteem or affection”, so you’re sending kind thoughts to the recipient. Not nice sentiments or fun ones or happy ones, just kind ones.
This is my favourite sign off, though I’ve never really thought about what it means before – I wish you all the best I suppose. It’s less formal than kind regards but not quite see you later or cheers. If you ever get an email from me with anything other than best wishes we’re either friends (my longest-standing client gets xx) or I’m having a bad day.
The perfect sign offs for formal letters when you know the name of who you’re writing to (sincerely) or when you don’t (faithfully) but they sound stuffy and old fashioned in emails.
Laters / Laterz (if you’re really hip)
We used to say this in the 1990s so I’m thinking it’s probably a bit out of date now – which is the problem with anything fashionable. The yoot know when it’s not trendy any more but us pre-millennials carry on using it and look less than cool.
Catch you later / See you later
I like see you later, catch you later is a bit casual for me but I know lots of people whose response to it is, ‘No you won’t see me later so why did you say it?’ All I mean by it is a friendly goodbye but just in case it gets people’s backs up I stay away from it unless I really am seeing someone later (some people are so picky!).
Something personal or quirky
A friend and colleague of mine uses cheery-bye and I love it! If something fun suits you and your brand then why not be different and memorable. Just don’t try too hard or you’ll fall into the problem of number 4.
Who uses cheers? I rarely see it in a work context and the person I’m thinking of who always uses it is someone I know well enough to meet for a coffee or glass of wine. It’s pretty informal for business but is lovely shorthand for thanks/bye/catch you later.
All the best
This one sounds final to me, like, all the best for the rest of your life – or is that just me?
I use thanks a lot. I LOVE good manners and good service (which I mention in this blog about American English following a trip to N’Awlins) but I’ve heard some people say they think it sounds smarmy or even sarcastic. Surely that’s the way they’re reading it!? For me it’s a genuine thank you: thank you for your enquiry, thank you for your payment, thank you for working with me, thank you for being you and reading my email.
So then, how am I going to sign off this blog? Thanks for reading (not sarcastic), best wishes (not final), and please leave a Comment and tell me how you end your emails, or let me know if there’s a brilliant expression I haven’t mentioned, and I’ll stop saying Best wishes to everybody.
Ta-ra for now!
P.S. If you’re going away soon and need some inspiration for your out of office auto-reply you might enjoy How to Write a (Non-boring) Out of Office Message.