Posted by: Jack Henry | August 5, 2013

Editor’s Corner: Sometimes it’s tough to say goodbye.

We’ve talked a little before about the capitalization of e-mail salutations in the past, but this article is about the options you can use to sign off when sending an e-mail and how they might be interpreted.
The article is from Entrepreneur and the answers are from two business communication experts: Suzanne Bates, president and CEO of Bates Communications, Inc. and Cherie Kerr, founder of ExecuProv and author of The Bliss or "Diss" Connection? Email Etiquette for the Business Professional.
Continue below to find out what message your e-mail goodbye might be sending.
The salutation: "Thanks"
Bates: It’s OK if you’re actually thanking people. But keep in mind it’s casual; you should know them if you’re using this sign-off.
Kerr: This is one of the safest and most courteous of the salutations. It keeps it pleasant, but professional.
Church: I like it, especially if you are thanking them for something specific, such as attention or time.
The salutation: "Ciao"
Bates: This isn’t for business, except for fashion, art, or real Italians.
Kerr: "Ciao" should only be used for close buddies or work pals. It’s not appropriate for business purposes.
Church: The same goes for “Adios, muchacho,” particularly if you are saying goodbye to a female.
The salutation: "Sincerely"
Bates: Tried and true for a formal business close, and you’ll never offend anyone.
Kerr: A bit too formal for e-mail. This salutation can put people off. People really expect this in a letter, not an e-mail.
Church: Depends on the sender and the audience. A collections letter signed “Sincerely” sounds more like a taunt.
The salutation: "Kind regards"
Bates: This is a great all-purpose business salutation. It may be best for people you have corresponded with in the past.
Kerr: This is one I use quite often. I like some kind of warmth, but also keep it business-like. I tend to use "Kindest regards."
Church: Agreed, though “Nasty regards” does have some power of its own.
The salutation: "Regards"
Bates: It’s less friendly than "Kind regards," and can be a bit perfunctory, but it generally works well.
Kerr: This salutation is a little short and a little distant, but at least it’s a closing message.
Church: I agree with both, but if you want to be a little less distant you can always sign it “Give my regards to Broadway.”
The salutation: "Best"
Bates: "Best" is colloquial, but fine for someone you know. "Best wishes" or "Best regards" would be better for business.
Kerr: This is another acceptable sign-off, especially if you’re using it with someone you know really well.
Church: I don’t think “Best wishes” seems appropriate for general business occasions. It seems useful in more specific circumstances, such as wishing someone “best wishes for your impeding marriage,” “best wishes on your retirement,” “best wishes on your gallbladder surgery,” etc. But that’s just me.
The salutation: "Cheers"
Bates: Only use this sign-off for friends and business colleagues you might meet for coffee.
Kerr: You can use this with someone you know well, but if you’re trying to make a business impression, this is not a great way to say goodbye when you’re first doing business with someone. Save it for after having established a bond.
Church: Unless you want people to associate your business behavior with a pub, the ‘80s, or a guy name Norm Peterson, I’d skip this. Note: Natives of the UK are exempt.
The salutation: "TGIF"
Bates: Never use this salutation for your boss.
Kerr: Use it for a good work buddy at clock-out time on Friday.
The salutation: "Talk soon"
Bates: Very nice for a friend, but you better mean it.
Kerr: It’s a nice way to sign-off. It lets the other person know there will be phone or face time soon, and that’s important and appreciated in this wacky age of e-mail. People need to talk more.
Church: This sounds awkward to me. Are you saying we’ll talk soon? Or are you commanding me to talk soon?]
The salutation: "Later"
Bates: Not appropriate for business correspondence; it sounds like you’re 14 years old.
Kerr: Only use this salutation in friendly business relationships.
Church: I guess that means “L8R,” “Later gator,” and “Later skater” are all off the list then?
The salutation: "Cordially"
Bates: It’s a little old-fashioned, but not offensive.
Kerr: This is safe and pleasant and gives people a "feel good" close at the end of your e-mail.
Church: Cordial…makes me think of chocolate cordials. Chocolate = goodness.
The salutation: "Yours truly"
Bates: Excellent for formal business.
Kerr: Too formal for e-mail.
Church: I have to agree with Ms. Kerr on this one—I think it’s too formal for e-mail. “Dear Mr. Gates, I am writing to inform you that my lawyers will be contacting your lawyers regarding your obnoxious copyrighting of the word Windows. Yours truly, Skeeter.”
The salutation: No salutation at all–just an electronic signature
Bates: There is a school of thought that an e-mail is not a letter; I don’t subscribe to that. I think most people come to the end of a note and expect a closing. It could come across as abrupt without one. It may also subtly say, "I’m in a hurry," "I don’t know how to sign off," or "I’m not someone who cares about niceties."
Kerr: Always use a salutation, but don’t be redundant. Change it up. That makes people think you care by taking the time to "converse" with them by e-mail.

For more information and the full article see Entrepreneur.

Your humble servant,

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