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What your work email sign-off says about you as a person



Wow, this email thang is a pain, ain’t it? Tapping away, laying out all the relevant details, nice tone you’ve got there, friendly but not too keen, I like it – you’re good at this, a true email pro.

But oh no! What do you say at the end of it all? What comes just before your name? Do you go formal? Polite? Friendly? How on earth are you supposed to round-off the thing?

This is the last thing your trusted recipient sees, so a bad exit could ruin the whole message, regardless of how beautiful the body is – get this wrong and you’re done, my friend.

Thankfully, I’m here, on the internet, where I live, and I’ve got the relevant nous to kick out an absolute banger of an email.

As such, I will wade through the many varying species of email sign-off, and tell you exactly what it says about you if you use them. Also, get out of my house.

Here we go:

You are a normal person, aren’t you? A real person. You know how to write a work email; you know how to write a friendly one; you know how to write the tricky medium between the two. The everyman, the line down the middle, you are a human.exe.

OK, now we’re getting somewhere. Often, exclamation marks can be misconstrued – sometimes it may come across like you’re being a bit sacastic, a bit insincere – but when it comes after “Cheers” I think everyone gets the message: you’re an amicable person. Hey, cheers! for the press release! Cheers! for the reply! Cheers! for the HR meeting! Cheers! for the sack!

“Thanks” is a lot like “Cheers” but a bit nerdier, basically. Unless you’re specifically thanking the recipient for something, it’s not exactly needed, is it? “Cheers” works across many levels, but “Thanks” only really works as an expression of gratitude. You don’t say “Thanks” when you leave your friends after a night out, but you might say “Cheers”. Keep it at “Cheers’”.

Thanks so much
Only use this unless someone has gone above and beyond to help you out in some way. It’s just weird and slightly needy otherwise.

I guess this is the formal version of “Cheers”. It’s the job application sign-off, isn’t it? Although not if you’re going for a job in the media, in which case “Cheers” is the end note du jour.

A bit creepy, this one. I AM YOURS, it is saying, which is a bit heavy for an email about how much the company has been spending on milk. Yeah, let’s just avoid using “Yours”.

Best wishes
This is fine, sure. Best when sent to Brenda, I guess. An out-of-the-blue email to Brenda, asking her about her family and her pets. You don’t know her that well but you know that she has pets and you like pets.

Yours sincerely
Wow, look at you playing adult! Good on you.

Yours faithfully
I think this is only suitable if you are from a long time ago in the past. Like, you are a Victorian ghost or something. In which case, props for working out how Outlook works – I’m an alive millennial and, I only half understand the thing.

In a bit
Don’t use this one unless you’re seeing the recipient in person that evening, or at a stretch, the next day. “In a bit” is ominous, and it’s never wise to end an email with the potential for oncoming menace. It accidentally introduces threat into the conversation, like that time you emailed your boss who’d just had spinal surgery and signed off with ’Watch your back’.

Have a good one
Best only used on Thursday, I’d say, because what does ‘one’ mean? An evening? A holiday? A sandwich? It’s too open to interpretation, and as an experienced expert in digital correspondence, the last thing you want is any ambiguity in your emails. Literally spelling things out is often not even enough to get the message across. This is not the time for riddles.

Ta for now
I think this is fine – in fact I quite like it.

Ah ‘bye’, that thing we used to say when leaving places! Unfortunately, it is now solely a word than only works as an addendum to punctuation-free jokes.

Take care
This can never come across as anything other than sarcastic. Ooooooh, take care, mate, have a “lovely” evening, yeah, look out for yourself, buddy, you’re the best.

As ever
No idea what this means. When do you start using ‘As ever’? It doesn’t make sense unless you follow it with “Cheers” or something. If it’s simply prefacing your name, and you are merely reminding me that as ever, you are Steven, then you’ve certainly planted a haunting seed of doubt in my mind there. Why should you need to reassure me that you are still the same person you were in your last email? I now suspect you are up to something, Steven, and will be contacting either your or my HR department, or the Ghostbusters.

Sent from my iPhone
Nobody likes a show-off.

Sent from Android
You’re alright by me.

Right, hopefully that’s comprehensive enough for you, and you can glean some helpful advice from my wise words

If, for some reason, you need any more help, then below is an example of the perfect email, taking into account what I have written above.

Follow this foolproof template and you’ll be King Communication in no time:

Afternoon Gavin,

Thanks very much for this, will loop it back to the rest of the team and see what they think. I’m sure the air conditioning issue will ruffle a few feathers! With regards to the end of year party, you’ll need to run the matching sweater proposal past Kate first – it’s not my place to say! Anyway, hope you smash it this weekend – we’re all rooting for you.



Happy emailing!

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