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 What is a simple and professional way to close emails to:

  • internal customers,
  • internal peers, or
  • external clients?

 

I have been using "Regards" since I graduated college without further thought, but as I was typing it out today it struck me that there may (or may not) be a more professional way to close an email.

I checked the email newsletters from Manager Tools but it was silent.

To this end, is there profession verbiage for an out of office auto-reply?

Regards,

Michael

damienfournier's picture

Michael,

Whatever you write; don't put a "Save the planet by not printing this email" type of closure, or a quote, or something unprofessional. 

I find it childish. 

I put my name and tel number. Role and all this, I am not sure they are all relevant. May be when you are in a sales or customer facing role but for internal, I usually end my email with D. 

Now, you can say "have multiple signature" and select each time. 

But really, is it worth the time selecting this each email you send out? 

My 2 cts. 

Damien

 

 

 

 

 

alexdifiore's picture

 My signature is always

email

phone

website (I do contract project management and my projects often have an intranet project site.)

And in terms of 'professionally' closing an email, I find 'contrived' remarks like 'regards' and 'thank you' that are ALWAYS at the bottom of an email (often auto generated as part of the signature) to be quite unprofessional.

I ALWAYS type something to close each email, depending on the email. It may be

Thanks,

Thanks!

Thank you,

ROCK ON

You are the MAN,

Regards,

Peace out,

Best,

<nothing>

But when I see something 'contrived' in an email, it always turns me off.

Smacquarrie's picture

 It would depend on company rules around this. Some companies are very lenient in this. Where I work we have very strict guidelines:

Name

Job title

Location

Phone

Email

 

Any cute sayings,quotes, etc are expressly forbidden. As far as putting thanks or thank you it would depend on your relationship with the receiver. 

Just my 2 cents worth. 

Mac

bikefitter's picture

I personally dislike graphic sigs.  They can be an effective reminder of your products and services, but I prefer to respect the recipients bandwidth/attachment situation.  Concise = professional.  Another way to test the "professionalism" of your sig, is to copy/paste your own into your favorite email->contact capture program and see how well it parses the result.  

KISS principle rarely misguides.s 

BrianT's picture

My company requires a standard email signature format that specifies the text font and size, along with placement of job title, address, phone, etc.  I include this automatically on new emails, but not on replies, as I think it quickly makes email threads far too long after a few replies go back and forth.  

I'll also typically close my emails(both my original emails and replies)  with a "Thanks" or "Regards" and my first name.  

I also loathe those long paragraphs in some email signatures that contain the "this is confidential" messages, especially when they appear in replies.  Again, after a few replies with all that extraneous information, the thread of the conversation becomes much harder to follow.  I do recognize that those paragraphs are often corporate-mandated, but I still find them unhelpful.  

 

Black_Caps's picture

To Michael: I too use "Regards" as part of my canned signature in Outlook. Usually, it fits. If I feel there is some other closing required, I change it for the situation.

To Damien: Of course your role and other information is helpful to be in your signature line. At very least it can help build your network. People that don't know you well are less likely to be reponsive if you end your email with a single letter. I will be removing the "green statement" from my signature tomorrow. Your statement did make me think it is superflous and generally a waste of bits.

johnwcook's picture

We have created strict policies covering this. Name, position, office # and fax #, address are required. We allow any business related degrees or certifications to be noted but anything else that hasn't been approved by Senior Management for all users (like mission statements) is not allowed .

justakim's picture

As consultants, we are probably more friendly in our closures than is the norm. When external and not a long email 'conversation' I try to think of something to say ranging from 'thanks', 'looking forward to seeing you next week,' To me, 'regards' is too cold for a relationship you're trying to develop/maintain and I wouldn't use that with clients. I also wouldn't use it with my coworkers since we all know each other.

Internally, closures are way shorter. Sometimes it's 'thanks', oftentimes it's nothing.

--

You don't seem to be asking about signatures, but I'll share anyway!

We have first-email and reply-to signature templates with some accepted degree of variation.

The internal one is usually your name and 2 lines of contact info. It's a nice way to indicate the end of one message and where the next begins.

The external one has:

  • name, degrees (usually only PhD)
  • title
  • company
  • address
  • phone
  • brief marketing blurb about an award (this blurb has generated a decent amount of interest in what we did to earn it)
jason_koch's picture

You're missing the point, it's not about you communicating a message, it's about the recipient.

D. I. S. C.

Sometimes I use my full signature, sometimes I use my name, sometimes I don't even have my name.

stevenbrooke's picture

ROCK ON!  Love it and admit I have used it with peers and reports.

I tend to be a little more traditional and boring when closing emails to people I don't already have a solid relationship with.

Thanks

Best Regards

Cheers

etc.

tbcox's picture

Your question is, how to close an OUT OF OFFICE AUTO-REPLY email.

Here, I think the guidance on voice mails could apply.  You'll recall it took Mark 46 minutes to tell us that you should use each voice mail to "move the conversation forward." ;-) (Love you, Mark.)  

So, what exactly is your specific out-of-office message conveying?  Probably one of:

1. here's the date/time when I'll get back and can start replying to you (i.e. setting expectations about response time)

2. here's the way you can get your needs met while I'm away (i.e. telling you the ball is in YOUR court to take an alternate route)

So here's how I would close those:

1:

I look forward to connecting with you when I return. 

Cheers.

 -Tom

 

2:

I know Jessica will take excellent care of you until I return.

Cheers.

 -Tom

 

I picked up "Cheers" as a lightweight and upbeat word that a Brit friend used, and I found it charming and stole it.  I also use "Thanks" when feeling more formal, or when writing as an interim executive rather than as a consultant.  (I have different email accounts for the two activities.)

I hope that helps.

Cheers.

  - Tom Cox
www.TomOnLeadership.com

bradp's picture

 I've considered this over the years and have been coached also by a selection of my bosses good and bad.  I've decided that simple and consistent has been the best approach:

 

Regards, is the informal sign off when I communicate with peers and my boss in general

None as in just my name for formal sign offs when the message in the email is formal. Process corrections, improvements and more formal information distribution

Cheers, for a neutral sign off to other peers in the organisation or others I don't quite know that well yet. I always expect these to end up being "regards" sooner rather than later

In terms of the content: an initial email signature of mine always has name, job and contact details. I'm not in sales but I do like the corporate theme words. My replies and forwards only have the sign off using the above too and my name plus phone numbers I think that if a reply needs further discussion people can ring me easily. 

Regards

Brad Parker

dmb41carter36's picture

Maybe I am the only one but I find it maddening when the person on the email does not include at least their phone number. I often like to stop the email chan of multiple emails with a phone call. Also, I feel it is critical to have the phone number to build relationships. especially when it is a customer. I actually think it is unprofessional to make someone stop and hunt for your phone number.

I think business address is also critical since the world is so flat these days you need to know where people are in order to respect time differences among other things you can infer based the location of someone.

In regards to the signatureand "canned" reply, as long as it's not totally canned like "Have a great day!", I don't even notice it. It's actually ironically funny when someone writes a snotty email and their signature is "Have a blessed day".

Personally, I do have the "caned" reply with "Regards" but I often will write a sentence such as "Thank you in advance for your time and attention" prior to the close of the email.  

 

 

 

GlennR's picture

I agree with DMB41Carter36 about the need for a telephone number (and fax). In my organization we use Lotus Notes and a recent upgrade now adds the person's title and phone number to the IM dialog box. That saves me from having to go into a db to research someone's number. When the sig block contains phone info, it saves time as well.

As for the disclaimers, I wonder if they actually hold up in a court.