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A picture is worth a thousand words, but an email signature speaks volumes with just a few. The way you choose to sign your emails greatly influences the tone and level of professionalism that you exude. With options ranging from formal “regards” to teenybopper-esque “xoxo,” how can you end on just the right note without sounding like you’re trying too hard?
Email culture is hardly a science, and only you can determine what you want to say and how you want to say it. Before you hit "send," consider what message you're really sending—and ensure that your signage is strengthening your emails rather than undercutting them.
Best. Often favored for work-related communications, “best” is a safe (if impersonal) choice. Use it when reaching out unfamiliar contacts or firing off brief emails to coworkers and acquaintances. To impart a touch of warmth without sacrificing professionalism, try “all my best” or “best wishes.” You can achieve a similar effect by swapping “warm regards” for its bare-bones counterpart, though the latter feels stiff and perhaps outdated in those under 35.
X’s and o’s. Also known as “kisses” and “hugs,” these represent the opposite end of the please-take-me-seriously! spectrum. Steer clear in conservative offices, but if you’re going to use them for personal emails or independent business ventures, own them fully. Choose your rendition according to the vibe you’re after—a chic “xx” (double cheek kiss) reads differently than a more traditional “xoxo.” The hippest of the hip only deign to offer one mysterious, nonchalant “x.”
Sincerely. You may associate “sincerely” with grade school letter-writing templates. In practice, however, I find it strikes an emotional chord that “best” or even “yours truly” cannot. Whip it out for sticky situations and thank-you notes. Other adverbs convey a similar charm—my boss ends both personal and professional emails with “fondly, Helene”. Her signage is just unusual enough to make an impression, and even caught the attention of country singer Garth Brooks!
Love. You know exactly what you’re doing when you throw this bad boy in there. Say it when you mean it, and avoid it when you don’t. Just make sure you’re ready to stand by your decision to use the L-word.
Those unsatisfied by this short list can select from the many other options available - “yours,” “cheers,” and “take care,” to name a few - or avoid the issue entirely by signing with just a name. As for me? I waffle between “best” and “thanks” at work, but for personal emails, I prefer to craft a short sentence around a neutral topic, such as food or the weather. Think if it as my way of saying, “Hey, I may be sending you an email, but I wish we were going for lunch or turning cartwheels in the sunshine.”
Just kidding, I can't do a cartwheel (lunch though?),
Emma Aubry Roberts