How to sign off an email professionally

How many times have you sat down and crafted a fantastic email only to find yourself staring at a blinking cursor trying to decide the best way to sign off? Those moments between deciding how to sign off an email and actually hitting “Send” can be treacherous. Do you go all-in with the formalities or take a decidedly friendlier tone?

Before diving into the specifics, let’s start with the basics.

What is an email signoff?

An email signoff is a small bit of text people add at the end of the email before they type their name. These last few words not only set expectations moving forward, but they also define the relationship between the sender and recipient.

The most common ways to sign off an email include:

  • “All the best”
  • “My regards”
  • “Respectfully”
  • “Many thanks”

What makes your email signoff important?

An email closing is the last thing your recipient reads. It can elicit a quick response when done correctly or result in no response at all if done incorrectly.

Imagine meeting a new business contact at a networking event and spending a few minutes getting to know them. Once your conversation ends, you wouldn’t just turn around and walk away without saying goodbye, would you?

Of course you wouldn’t. Not only would that be incredibly rude, but it would also leave a bad impression and likely prevent future discussions with that individual. Instead, you would probably say something along the lines of, “It was great meeting you. Please take my business card. I hope to hear from you soon.”

When you sign off an email, think of it as the end of a conversation. By using friendly, polite and professional language and ending your message with a clear call to action, you have a better chance of getting a positive response and continuing conversations.

What should you include when you sign off an email?

There are multiple parts to an email closing. The signoff itself is important, but there are additional pieces of information you should also include before hitting “Send.”

Always remember to include the following in your email signoff:

  • Full name: Be sure to include your first and last name to avoid any confusion and give the recipient an understanding of who they are corresponding with.
  • Title and company: Include your current job title and company, particularly if you find yourself emailing with someone outside the company you work for.
  • Contact information: Sure, the recipient has your email address, but are there other ways they can contact you? It can be useful to include your phone number and even your LinkedIn profile URL.

How to sign off an email with class

There are many tried-and-true email signoffs you can use the next time you sit down to send an email to a coworker or friend. These signoffs can range from your typical “Best” to the classic “Sincerely.” Those aren’t the only ways to sign off an email, though.

Formal email signoffs

In a formal business situation, you want to use an email signoff that'll show your professionalism without sounding too stuffy. Some examples of great professional email signoffs include:

  • Regards: It might come off as a bit cold, but it works in professional emails because there’s nothing unexpected about sending your regards to professional contacts.
  • Sincerely: While it would sound stuffy in a more casual business email, “Sincerely” is the ideal email signoff for corresponding with a new connection.
  • Best wishes: This signoff strikes the perfect balance between friendliness and formalness, making it a safe bet for any correspondence.

Informal email signoffs

If you're emailing a coworker or client you're friendly with, a more casual email signoff may be appropriate. Some examples of casual business email signoffs include:

  • Cheers: It’s 5 o’clock somewhere! While this signoff works well if your email is a conversational one, it can come off as unprofessional in certain settings.
  • Best: You can use “Best” to share your best wishes in a more cheerful way. If you get a lot of emails, you’ve likely seen this one a lot.
  • Talk soon: If the recipient is someone that you know and anticipate talking to in the near future, consider something as simple as ‘Talk soon.’ Not only is it as friendly as it is polite, but it also signifies that the conversation is likely to continue.

Call to action email signoff

If your email includes asking the recipient to perform a task or help you with something now or in the future, one of these email signoffs will do the trick:

  • Thanks in advance: Emails that include “Thanks in advance” are more likely to get a response than those without it. Maybe it’s because this signoff expresses gratitude but also sets an expectation.
  • Thank you: This one is such a classic your mother would be proud you used it. Not to mention, a simple “thank you” is always a solid choice when you want to express gratitude.
  • I appreciate your [help, input, feedback, etc.]: There’s no better time than the present to express appreciation when someone has helped you.

Improper business email signoffs

There are some signoffs you may use in an email to your mom or significant other, but they simply aren't appropriate in a business email. Here are a few examples:

  • Love: Does this one even need an explanation? If you find yourself emailing with a coworker or professional connection, dropping the L-word probably won’t be received well. Try “Best wishes,” instead.
  • Thx: In this day and age, shortening words and using acronyms in place of full phrases can feel like second nature. Our advice? Spell things out.
  • [Nothing at all.]: Ah, the good old Irish goodbye. Acceptable at parties but not at the end of an email. A simple “Best,” will do.

Things to keep in mind

Regardless of who you find yourself communicating with via email, always remember to include your first and last name in your signoff. Also, be sure to use context clues when choosing the appropriate email signoff tone.

If you’re emailing someone you’ve never met, take the tried-and-true approach of keeping things professional. If you’ve communicated before and feel a more laid-back closing is appropriate, adjust your email signoff appropriately. If you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to err on the side of caution and sign off with a professional farewell.