Monday December 23, 2013
Remember the last time you sat down to compose an email? Of course you do. A vast amount of time is spent writing emails; in the region of 2.5 million emails are sent globally every second. Whilst focus is on the content of the email, many are oblivious to the effect the sign-off has on reflecting not only who we are, but the organisation we represent. And there are so many different types of sign-offs we could use (with Forbes Magazine stating there are 57) that it’s often difficult to choose one which best represents you as a person, but also the message you’re trying to convey.
If you really think about it, email sign-offs are an easy way to build rapport and allow people to build up a picture of the kind of person you are in just a few brief seconds. Whether you choose ‘Best wishes’, ‘Many Thanks’, or ‘Kind Regards’; all evoke an immediate reaction - so what is the most effective sign-off? At Purple Cubed we often just use ‘‘Best’ which ensures all bases are covered (welcoming, harmless, versatile), however there are three more uncommon responses, which offer something different at the end of an email and work just as well if the context they are used in is appropriate:
- Cheers: it’s relatively informal, though what’s wrong with that when the occasion merits it? ‘Cheers’ can be read as warm, personable and colloquial. However, on the flip, it can also be seen as unoriginal and / or trying to be overly friendly with your correspondence. This is one to think about the context of the email and the audience receiving, before using- perhaps you decide it’s best for those you know and have a more established, personal relationship with.
- Take care: When used correctly, ‘Take Care’ comes across as warm and shows compassion from the sender. It’s also friendly, conversational, versatile, and a more personal way to finish an email. But be careful, ‘Take care’ could also come across as a soft warning if used in the wrong context!
- All the best: This comes across as buoyant and sincere and is also completely harmless. This response can be used across most contexts and is also more memorable than a lot of other sign-offs. But is it quite old-fashioned?
And it’s not just words which can give an undesired perception. Things like the inclusion of company logos or recent award wins can all add to how you are marketing yourself and the business. Whilst we can’t always influence the inclusion of these, we can make sure they appear in our signatures correctly, not overpowering the email with an abnormally large image and making sure the focus is on the email’s content and not the latest award win.
So whilst it may just be a couple of words or a small image, it’s important to understand that the sign-off will be the last thing the recipient sees, providing a great opportunity to engage in conversation, make a lasting impression or ensure what you’ve asked for it sent / done. Therefore it’s worth spending a few moments to think about the recipient, the context, the relationship before hitting the send button.
What email sign-offs do you or your organisation advocate? What are some of the other effective email sign-offs? Are they actually as important as some may suggest?
Sam Gardner is one of our client account managers; helping our partners transform their organisations. He can be contacted here.