I can’t explain why I do it, or why I feel wrong not doing it. Half the time I don’t mean it, and other times I recognize I would never ever say it out loud.
The oddity and complexity of the email sign off.
⊕ Kind regards.
⊕ Most sincerely,
⊕ All the best,
⊕ Warmest Regards,
⊕ Hope this helps,
⊕ Looking forward,
⊕ Yours truly,
⊕ Godspeed ←- my personal favorite (not c-level friendly)
Albeit very short words, valediction is important enough to cause pause before hitting the send button.
Why do we do this to ourselves?!?
Namely, we can’t help it. We humans have been obsessed with the art of valediction since before Cicero’s letters in 63 BC. It’s literally a defining part of our human nature and lineage (Wiki). Across lands, incomes and languages, it’s a widespread homosapien tradition.
If aliens came down to earth and studied our emails and letters throughout history, our sign offs would be a dead giveaway of “human was here”.
The psychology and perception engineering of it all is also spellbinding.
Is the intention to show respect, excitement, thanks, apology, sarcasm, urgency, friendliness, or curtness? What does using no sign off mean when the other person always uses sign offs?
There’s no escaping that there’s a nuance to it all:
Reflecting back to the time as a child I wrote pen pal letters (dating myself here), it’s becoming clear why people don’t use terms like “bye” in emails. Bye alludes to there being a close to the conversation, which is contrary to an ongoing exchange of emails (reality of work relationships). I imagine we don’t use “good bye” in an effort to save ourselves from the fact there’s no escaping email; being connected.
If anything, I hope this is a semi-funny reminder that the sign off in letters and emails is an awkward process for everyone.
If all else fails, copy the sign off from the person you’re communicating with. If this is your first email conversation, don’t overthink it. You can always take the well worn path:
Email Closing Response Rate
thanks in advance 65.7%
thank you 57.9%
kind regards 53.9%
best regards 52.9%
What’s your favorite or go-to email sign off and why?