Thursday 30 January 2020

Email salutations - how do people like to sign off their messages these days?

The blessing gesture which is the inspiration for the Vulcan salutation

My students are shortly going to be working with Clients from external organisations. In preparation for the initial meetings I like to go through a few professional protocols. These include: 

  • Dressing smartly and wearing clean shoes/trainers
  • Introducing themselves and handshakes
  • Sending a thank you email after the meeting (with examples of what an email should not look like - casual, grammatical errors etc. and then how it could be presented more professionally)
As I was planning for the class, I added to the slides some suggestions for starting a professional email and how to end it. I suggested that Hi [add name] or Dear [add name], were both good to start an email. To finish the email I suggested Regards, Best regards or Kind regards as there are frequently used. 

From my own experience, I also see Best and Cheers used by people I tend to know; and sometimes where appropriate Thanks. I wondered if there were other alternatives, so decided to put out a quick poll on Twitter and set it to be open for 7 days. 

I have to say I was surprised by both the number of responses to the poll and the comments/discussions that accompanied this. By the end of the week, 612 voted. According to the poll Kind regards was the most popular with 57.4% of the votes and Ward regards least popular with just 3.4%. 

There were numerous comments tweeted and it was fascinating to see how strongly some felt about particular salutations. One tweeted:

"I did research this a little and Best wishes seems the best option. I’ve never said “regards” to anyone in my life! And “best” sounds like a 19th century English eccentric saying goodbye to a bar full of people after an evening of sharing thespian anecdotes"

Another highlighted that they no longer used email and had moved to using Microsoft Teams. I asked how users typically signed off messages in that space. His reply was:

"It's constant ongoing dialogue so never really need to end it. If you send a lot of emails it's amazing how much time you waste with pleasantries. I sometimes just reply by liking a message as acknowledgement"

Alternatives included Cheers, Sincerely, Thanks/Thank you/Many thanks, Kindest and Sincerest Regards.

Maybe we should just use the Vulcan salutation emoji and "live long and prosper"


This was popularised long before email of course. The Vulcan "salute" is attributed to Leonard Nimoy, who was the half Vulcan character Mr. Spock on the original Star Trek television series.

And if you are going use this you need to do it correctly! 

A raised hand, with the fingers separated between the ring finger and the middle finger.

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