If you’ve ever written an email, you’ve probably, at some point, been faced with a sign-off dilemma.
While sign-offs can be tricky no matter the context, the pressure can be particularly intense when sending work emails. What if you scare off a potential client? What if you weird out your boss? What if you come across as rude?
Sometimes, figuring out how to end your message is more stressful than actually writing the body of the email.
“Sincerely,” “Warm regards,” “Cheers” — all of these phrases could be right in one context and wildly inappropriate in another. And besides, how can you know if the person on the receiving end of your email has a particular grudge against a certain word?
According to my very scientific Twitter poll (read: completely unscientific), people have a lot of feelings about email sign-offs, and loathe certain ones for no apparent reason. “All the best is most definitely the worst,” replied one Twitter user. “It's a combination of it being such a lie with being so generic and lukewarm, it doesn't mean anything!”
Indeed, wishing someone “all the best” can sometimes feel like a platitude. But what about shortening it to “Best”? The latter option, it seems, is less offensive — at least to some Twitter users.
So, how exactly should you sign off on a work email?
Ultimately, there’s no "right way." Given that you will never be able to please everyone, it’s best to err on the side of neutrality. This means steering clear of overly enthusiastic sign-offs like “Love” or “Thanks a million,” which, hopefully, you would never use in a professional context anyway.
The most important thing is to always think about your audience. No matter the nature of your email, take a moment to reflect on what’s most appropriate for that specific email exchange. Even so, there are some sign-offs that are generally a bit safer and less grating to receive than others. And, assuming you’re not trying to burn any bridges, it’s probably best to stick to them if you're feeling unsure.
Ahead, we put together a shortlist of five solid email sign-offs so that the next time you’re writing an important work email, you at least don't have to worry about how to end it.