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How someone ends (and starts) their professional emails is a matter that can evoke curiously strong emotions and vehement personal preferences.
While you can’t account for every taste, there are a few options that are generally safe for work. ‘Best’ may leave a few people asking ‘Best … what?’ but it is an increasingly common choice and unlikely to cause widespread offence. If in any doubt, just add a ‘regards’.
Yes, some people certainly do – and if you consistently use erratic or incorrect (or zero) punctuation in your emails, you can be sure that eventually you’ll find them. Remember that while it’s true that email can be informal, it’s still a reflection on you out in the professional world.
And don’t forget that punctuation also helps to convey your meaning. It can’t do all the heavy lifting there, but it’s still an important part of the picture.
Some people see this well-worn expression as polite white noise, others as insincere filler. The best way to start any email is by setting the context (which can include the human touch, where appropriate). But the best alternative to ‘I hope you’re well’ will depend on who your recipient is.
If you’re on friendly terms with them already, add a personal touch by referencing something you’ve made a point of remembering: ‘I hope you had an amazing trip to Costa Rica (and I’m not jealous at all)!’ or ‘I hope your son’s clarinet recital went brilliantly.’ Pitch your tone to suit the relationship.
If you’re writing a brief and functional email to a colleague, you may be able to just get straight to the point: ‘Here are the meeting notes, as promised.’
If you’re sending a cold email to a new contact, you’ll want an opener that gives them a reason to read on. Two important factors here are creating trust and providing incentive. So, this could be saying that a mutual connection suggested you get in touch (if this is true!). Or, for a cold sales email, you can start with a business challenge you know they’ll recognise or a goal you know they have. Then move swiftly on to how you can help them solve the challenge or achieve the goal.
Get expert advice, how-tos and resources for good writing (and great work).