by E-WRITE's Leslie O'Flahavan

August 3, 2009

Four Professional Ways to Close an E-Mail

Just read Ruth McCann's article in today's Washington Post, 'Best' for Last? Or Should You Sign That E-Mail With Sincerely? Regards? Cheers? or L-, L-, Love?, in which she considers the best way to close an e-mail. Here are some of the e-mail closing options that McCann and her interviewees Arianna Huffington; Matthew Cox, senior staff writer for Army Times; Norah O'Donnell, MSNBC's chief D.C. correspondenthave considered and rejected:

  • Regards - emotionally detached
  • Cordially - thinly veiled hostility
  • Cheers - too mock Brit
  • Sincerely - too old-school, too letter-like
  • XOXOX - too adolescent


I think the article missed one important point: how you close your e-mail needs to match what you said in your e-mail. Best wishes would be an odd way to close an e-mail about a 25% budget cut. Thank you is the wrong way to close an e-mail in which you let your staff know you'll be out for a month recuperating from back surgery. The closing should continue the "line" of your e-mail and add a little flourish of feeling to wrap everything up. You should not omit the closing entirely unless you're e-mailing someone you know very well and your exchange will be brief.

Four Professional Ways to Close an E-Mail:

  1. Looking forward to ... I like this closing because it helps me reiterate the point of my e-mail. If I've just e-mailed to invite someone to attend a course, I might close with Looking forward to seeing you at the September 22 web writing course. If I am e-mailing to request information, I might close with Looking forward to receiving your price list.
  2. Thank you for ... I really like this closing when my e-mail is a request. If I've asked someone to propose dates for a meeting, I'll close with Thank you for letting me know when you're available. Even if the reader hasn't completed the requested action yet, the Thank you closing puts us all on the right track.
  3. Please contact me if you ... Many people use this closing in a generic formPlease contact me if you have any questions—but if I use it, I make it very specific: Please contact me to discuss training plans for next year or Please contact me so we can review the draft you sent.
  4. Sincerely, All the best, Regards ... Any one of these closings is fine. Don't obsess about which closing to use. The most important thing to remember is that the e-mail closing offers you the opportunity to remind your readers about the purpose of the e-mail and leave them with a good feeling about you and your e-mail topic.


What's your opinion? Which e-mail closing do you use? Why? Leave a comment and let us know how you say goodbye. 

Want to learn more about writing excellent e-mail? Enroll in our course How to Write E-Mail to People Who Don't Read on January 13, 2010 in Washington, DC.

TTFN -

--Leslie O'Flahavan


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Comments

Hi! I have been sitting here for 30 minutes trying to figure out how to sign an email, so that is what led me here. I definitely agree with go with the flow of the message, but my message is just short and to the not so nice point. I have never until the last couple of months thought so long about how to sign various emails, text messages, etc. It is becoming very diversified and that makes it difficult because I am beginning to realize even on my texts I am going to have to venture out from the old Take Care. Take Care on my text or email to certain people which I only used it to certain people was like a term of endearment with out any strings. Anyway just thought and I am sure you know, how this is getting to confusing for me. Thanks for the help . I will pick one and run. I am just going to leave it at thanks.

Posted by: Meli | October 10, 2010 at 01:19:14am

Thnx for useful information... professionalway

Posted by: praveena | September 30, 2012 at 03:26:29pm

what do you think of the email closing: professionally yours?

Posted by: irene | June 9, 2014 at 04:04:39pm

Hmm… I find "Professionally Yours," a somewhat odd closing. It seems that the writer wants to stress that he or she is not Personally Yours. I'm not sure I would use the closing "Professionally Yours." What do you think of it, Irene?

Posted by: Leslie O'Flahavan | June 10, 2014 at 08:55:52pm

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