How to Begin and End Email
Start with a specific subject line.
Choose the better subject line in each pair below:
1. a. New Phones
3. a. Summer newsletter
In number 1, the second choice conveys a sense of urgency and action, whereas the first choice falls flat. In 2, the longer title focuses the reader on which update the email is explaining. In 3, you don’t really have much choice. Who would take a?
Next comes the greeting.
• Hi, Fred and Lauri.
• Hi, team.
• Greetings, everyone
• Good morning, Sayed. (If Sayed this message in the morning)
• To all employees:
• Ruth, Mala and Felicia:
Choose the greeting that matches your relationship with the reader(s) and the purpose of the message. “Hi” is friendly but too informal in certain situations—for example, in response to a request for a proposal. “Hello” is friendly and professional. “Hey”is too informal and slangy for most messages.
“To” followed by a pronoun like “all” or the name of a group sounds professional but does not convey warmth. Warmth is required in all messages, but please remember that you must always consider the position of the receiver.
The punctuation of greetings is a topic for discussion. All the punctuation used in the list above is correct. Some people use “Hi team” and “Hello Robin” without the comma, but traditional writers retain the comma. The reason is that these words are in “direct address.” When we directly address the reader, as in “Hi, team” (or in the example that begins with “Jian”) the name is separated from the other words by a comma.
“Dear” greeting in a business email.
In a quick exchange of email with someone it is not necessary to continually greet your reader. Compare such an exchange with putting the person on hold on the telephone. When you return to the phone call, you say, “Thanks for holding. I have the information: rather than “Hi Laurie.”
• See you in Tokyo!
• Have a great trip!
Avoid continually using “Have a great day!” or similar expression as your closing sentence. It became meaningless with constant use and it is a bad fit with email that communicates a policy or serious announcement.
A complimentary close—yes or no?
Business letters typicall end with phrases called “complimentary closes” such as “Sincerely yours,” “Best wishes,”and “Best regards.” A complimentary close is not required in email. However, business email often uses such a close to sound formal, look professional, or simply communicate courteously.
• Sincerely,(the most formal of the list)
• Best regards, (professional)
• Regards, (less friendly than the other 2 regards choices)
• With best wishes, (or) Best wishes, ( professional)
• Ciao! (friendly and rather informal)
• Cheers, (friendly)
• Please give our greetings to Dr. Carr
• Greetings to your colleagues in Systems Research
Although people frequently use “Thanks” as a close, it is not standard, and careful writers avoid it. Do not use “Thanks in advance” as a close, because many people find it presumptuous. Rather than “Thanks” or “Thanks in advance,” create a better sentence, such as “Thanks for considering my request.” Or use “With thanks” as a complimentary close followed by a comma.
Advice for those who receive less-than-perfect Email. You will sometimes receive email that is less than perfect, which means you might feel a bit offended by them. My advice to you on this is to get through them and leave them behind. Bring a bright smile to your face and a kind tone to your email reply. Forgive those whose writing was clumsy, abrupt, or annoying. They were merely experiencing moments of being human and imperfect.