One of my most popular posts ever on Work from Home Wisdom was about email etiquette, particularly sign-offs. It was inspired by correspondence with one of my garden office advertisers who wrote ‘What’s the best way to sign off an email? I never know, and secretly wonder if I get it horribly wrong.’
Sign-offs and greetings
Many comments followed on the blog and social media, on whether to stick with the safety of sign-offs like ‘With kind regards’, or attempt something more individual, and whether kisses are ever permissible!
People had very strong views about what was or wasn’t acceptable, with some saying the ‘wrong’ ending would completely turn them off the writer. While others declared that same ending was the only acceptable one. Tricky.
Some also debated the best greeting. Whether it should it be Dear or Hi, and when to use a first name only.
Email etiquette – introducing your email
And then of course there’s the question of how to start the body of the email. Launch straight into the business at hand, or try to show a little humanity with a more personal reference?
It’s easy if you already have something in common with the person you’re emailing, you can refer to that as a friendly start. ‘I hope the networking event was useful’ and so on. Less so when you don’t know them or haven’t been in touch for a while.
I listened to a short Radio 4 programme by Mary Beard this week, in which she said how much she hates someone hoping she’s having a good week. Oops, I sometimes use that, because an opening along the lines of ‘I hope you are well’ sounds so much like the thank you letters I used to laboriously write to relatives at Christmas.
And being British I find I often resort to the weather as an opener – ‘I hope you’re enjoying the sunshine.’
Mary Beard was commenting on how nobody teaches email etiquette in the way that letter writing used to be taught. I was hoping for some pointers, but sadly she didn’t provide anyway, so I’ll have to go on making it up and hoping, like my garden office friend, that I’m not getting it horribly wrong.
Do you have strong views on email etiquette? What’s your favourite email opener? Does someone using one of your pet hates put you off them?
With best wishes
(Photos from Kaboompics)