10 Daily asked Michelle to decode one of the most confusing parts of a workplace — how are you supposed to sign off your emails?
Does ‘regards’ feel too formal? And then ‘cheers’ doesn’t quite feel formal enough? Is it ever okay to end your emails with an ‘x’?
Well, according to career expert Michelle Gibbings, everything goes (kind of) as there’s no right or wrong answer.
“It depends on your role, who you’re writing to and the setting of the email,” she told 10 daily.
Gibbings went on to say that in this sense “context is extremely important”.
To learn more, we asked Gibbings to decode some of our favourite email sign-offs.
Gibbings said that she wouldn’t use ‘cheers’ as a sign-off if she was emailing someone for the first time as she finds it “quite familiar”.
“I use it but I only use it in a context where I know the person and I know the context well,” she said.
“Regards is a tricky one,” she said. “Because there are so many variables such as kind, warm, and best. Which one are you supposed to use?”
Despite trying to find the right ‘one’ to use, Gibbings said that most variables are pretty safe because it’s such a commonly used sign-off by so many people.
“It’s become like standard email vernacular,” she said. “So, when you’re not sure what to put, it’s a safe one to use.”
For Gibbings, ‘thanks’ denotes a closer relationship and should only really be used when you’re familiar with the person.
“If you want to make it a little more formal you can also change it to ‘thank you’”, she said.
“This is the one I struggle with the most,” Gibbings said.
“Best is something that has to connect to the person you’re sending it to,” she said.
Gibbings advises that we think about who we are writing to and whether or not the sign-off fits with your persona and theirs. “There’s a formality attached to it and there’s also a feeling that something is missing — it feels like we should be writing ‘best regards’ or ‘best wishes’,” she said.
Gibbings doesn’t hold back on this one: “No, I wouldn’t use it”.
For Gibbings, signing-off with ‘warmly’ “feels a little bit like writing ‘best’ — people who don’t know you don’t really know how to take it”.
She advises we get to know the person before using it.
“Don’t ever sign off with a kiss unless they’re your family or friends,” Gibbings said. Noted.