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How to pick the perfect email closing

I’m taking a break from teaching about conflict to explore this life defining if tongue-in-cheek topic: email closing salutations!


chalk board email Aug 20This week, after teaching about conflict for two weeks, I needed something light. So I decided to consult the oracle of all things, and googled “closing salutation to use in business.”

After all, the world has changed from when I was young and we were taught to close our letters with “Sincerely” and “Yours, truly.” (I’m dating myself!)

Of course, I’m not sure anybody is writing business letters these days. I may have received one last year. In the age of email, even the closing salutation may be a thing of the past. I’d be sorry about that.

I don’t consider “sent from my Iphone” a warm and fuzzy closing salutation. Sometimes I’m lucky to even see a name at the end of an email.

Having now studied the masters of etiquette on the Internet and done an extensive survey of all the email sent to me in the last 92 hours, I have some results for you to consider as endings to your thoughtfully (of course) manicured email.

Believe me, I’ve tried (and overused) them all!

“Sincerely” or “sincerely yours.”

It’s been a while – a long while – since I used these. I don’t suggest using them unless your name is Prudence. (Don’t take it personally, Pru, my name is also dated.) And, do I want to publicly flaunt the fact that I am sincere? The girls at my alma mater, Oberlin College, were once described as “painfully sincere.” I don’t think it was a compliment. I’ll skip this one.

“Yours truly.”

Am I really giving myself away? And is “truly” still in vogue or has it gone the way of names like “Sally?”


I use this a lot because, I confess, I am a hugger. But the male engineers with whom I work may not want to be reminded of this fact.

“Best wishes.”

I am not sure what my best wishes are – maybe I should send out “pretty darn good” wishes  –  I’d be comfortable with that. Because how do I send my BEST wishes to ALL of the people on my mailing list? They might compare notes. That wouldn’t be good.

“With warm wishes” or “warmly.”

Right now it’s warm in Seattle.  In a month it will be, well, soggy. Can I still send warm wishes?  I like the idea of adding a little weather information to the closing of my email: windy wishes, humid wishes, I-can’t-stand-another-day-of-rain wishes.

But maybe we’re talking about affection. I suggest caution. After all, “fondly” (which is also a sign of warmth) could land you in trouble. Thanks to Mr. Andrew Weiner we need to watch out for public declarations of excitement or arousal. Consider yourself forewarned!

“Respectfully yours.”

Sounds a bit distant, although the contract manager who used this with me was so genuinely respectful that I am reserving this closing for her. Respect is a beautiful thing.


This is tricky. I like the word. But not when it’s coming at me from bloggers who haven’t even met me. Don’t you want to save the term for after I’ve signed up for your multi-thousand dollar seminars?


It’s a bit breezy. Kind of like a modern “tally-ho.” When I use it I think of blue sky and dockers. I call it a Yankee form of “Ciao.”

The list could go on. As I said, I’ve tried them and they’re not that original.

Why don’t we create some special purpose ones:


Has a delightfully unctuous feel. There may still be an accountant who’d like it.

“Wanting something from you soon,” or “Looking forward to your money.”

These are honest closes. Simple!  Direct! I’m going to offer them to the folks who keep sending me those chatty content marketing emails.

“With sincere effort.”

Notice I’m using the sincere word. But I want someone to know when I have taken the time to carefully edit my email. I really do it sometimes!

“Written before the light changes.”

How fast can you write an email? I might add this salutation if I could auto-fill it. Definitely more fun than “from my iphone.”

OK, that’s my shot at it. What’s yours?

3 Responses

  1. Thank you for this clever and fun-to-read blog. I really enjoyed reading it, as well as the Robin Williams one. I giggled out loud when I read the sample closing – ‘Wanting something from you soon,” or “Looking forward to your money.” Wouldn’t it be nice if these particular writers-of-emails were so transparent? You are a brilliant writer Sally.

  2. Great Post Sally –

    FYI: In the Government/Military the protocol ending for emails should be:



    The V/r is very respectfully and should be capitalized just like it is shown above.

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