The Art Of Email Salutations | 10 Salutations To Avoid

Email is one of a few primary forms of communication for business or office-related work. Whether you’re writing a personal or professional email, it’s important to use the proper greeting, which is known as the email salutation. The salutation you use ultimately creates the tone and voice for the email you’re sending. 

While it’s important to thoughtfully compose each part of your message, a well-constructed email start and end are essential to leaving the reader with a positive impression.

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Writing clear, professional emails can help position you positively in your career with your colleagues, people in your network, or potential employers. To help make sure you achieve this goal here is some background on how to send an email, elements you should include, and several helpful examples.

What Is An Email Salutation?

An email salutation is the greeting you use at the beginning of an email. The type of salutation you choose depends on the person you’re addressing. The way you start your email will immediately establish your voice in the email so it’s best to choose one that adequately conveys the voice you’re looking for. For business correspondence, for example, it’s best to use a professional email salutation.

Why Are Business Email Salutations Important?

Choosing a proper email salutation is especially important in the workplace. Not only does it set the tone for the entirety of the email, but it also displays the proper etiquette. Salutations are especially important if you’re emailing your supervisor or higher up. Emails of this nature need to remain professional, and using the right salutation should display your utmost esteem and respect.

How To Select Professional Salutations For Email?

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When selecting the proper salutation, it’s important to consider your relationship with the recipient. If you’re addressing a prospective candidate or colleague, be sure to select a formal greeting. If you’re sending an email to someone with a more lax tone, you might be able to use an informal or friendly greeting. It’s important to analyze the situation and consider the recipient when selecting your email salutation.

Here are a few steps to consider when selecting an email salutation:

Know your audience

The main indicator for how you should address an email lies in your relationship with the recipient. When emailing an employer, for example, it’s important to use a professional salutation. If you haven’t known the recipient long, it’s also best to select a formal greeting. 

Know the objective of your email

When writing a business salutation, more often than not you’ll be discussing business affairs. With subject matters as these, select a salutation that sets a professional tone. Whereas a birth announcement email should have a casual and relaxed greeting, a business email needs to be addressed with the utmost professionalism and respect.

Consider your recipient’s perception:

An important way to set your business email up for success is by finding the recipient’s contact information and full name. This lets them know you took the time to find their name and will allow you to address your email accordingly. The proper salutation will help you build long-lasting business relationships.

How To Use a Professional Email Salutations:

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The two most important aspects of writing a professional email salutation are tone and content. You set the tone for the rest of the included subject matter by including an appropriate salutation at the beginning. Including an appropriate closing to end, your email can also leave your reader with a positive impression.

How To Start An Email?

If you’re unsure how to select a professional email salutation greeting, you have many options. Some are more formal than others, so knowing and understanding your recipient is important. Here are some of the most common choices for proper salutations:

Dear,

Starting your email with “Dear” is always a good, professional option—especially if you know the name of the person you are addressing. Including their name is more personal and shows that you care about the business relationship. For a gender-neutral option, include their first or full name instead of using “Mr.,” “Miss.” or “Mrs.”

Another option is simply using their title and last name. Doing so is a sign of respect that demonstrates your attention to detail. Also, make sure to write out titles such as “Governor,” “Rabbi,” “Captain” or “Professor.”

Hi, or Hello,

“Hi” or “Hello” are less formal versions of “Dear.” Typically, you’d use “Hi” or “Hello” when you are addressing a department or sending an email without personal contact information. For example, if you have to send an email to info@abccompany.com or financedepartment@xyzcompany.com, hello is an acceptable greeting.

In some situations, you may have formed a friendly relationship with a client or supplier. In this case, you can use “Hi” or “Hello” as your salutation. Make sure to also include their name in this salutation, as it’s a sign of respect and business-appropriate. Examples would include “Hi Don” or “Hello Susan.”

Greetings,

Using “Greetings” as your email salutation lies somewhere on the spectrum between “Dear” and “Hi” or “Hello” in terms of formality. It’s still an acceptable email salutation but often implies an affable relationship more than a formal introduction. “Greetings” is often used as a way to stand out from the crowd if you’re cold pitching or cold emailing a potential client. If you have a limited relationship with the recipient, this is always a good option.

Hi everyone,

This situation is specific to when you are addressing a group of people. It is inclusive of everyone in the email and is more formal and appropriate than using gender-specific greetings like “Hey guys.”

How To Use Email Closing Salutations?

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An email closing is the last thing your recipient reads in your email. How you end your email can leave a lasting impression on your audience and even be a motivating factor in how quickly they respond or take action. Here are the most common and appropriate ways to end your email using a salutation:

Sincerely,

This professional salutation is a favorite because it is appropriate in all situations. It lets the reader know that you sincerely appreciate the time that has gone into reading the email and any call-to-actions that you requested.

Hope to talk soon,

Using this salutation reinforces that you want to have a follow-up conversation or meeting. This is a great sign-off to use for cover letters, informational interview requests, and interview follow-up emails.

Thank you for your time,

This is another popular sign-off salutation as it thanks to the audience for their time spent reading the email. Professionals often have an inbox full of emails to read and respond to, so acknowledging that their attention is appreciated can leave the reader with a positive impression of you.

Here are more options for ending a professional email:

  • Best,
  • All the best,
  • Regards,
  • Thank you,
  • Many thanks,
  • Respectfully,

You should include your full name, contact information, title, and company in your closing. And also learn how to insert pictures in email closing salutations.

Email Salutations To Avoid:

Sometimes the best practice of creating a professional email salutation is knowing what greetings and endings to avoid. Don’t fall into the trap of using these salutations when a better option—such as the ones mentioned above—will do.

Hey

“Hey” is an informal salutation often used in interoffice correspondence. Avoid “Hey” whenever possible, even if you use the person’s name or title after it.

Hey Guys

It is a gendered language that can come across as offensive to those who do not identify as male.“Gentlemen” and “Ladies” would also fall under the umbrella of gendered language you shouldn’t use. If you’re addressing a group tries saying “Hey everyone,” or “Hi team,” instead.

Dear Sir or Madam

“Dear Sir or Madam” is another outdated greeting that’s too stiff for a proper business email, even if it seems formal. 

Good Evening, Afternoon, or Morning

Using “Good Evening,” “Good Afternoon” or “Good Morning” may seem like a formal tone, but it disregards when a person will actually read the email. If possible, avoid this greeting regardless of the situation.

To Whom It May Concern

Using “To Whom It May Concern” was once an acceptable email or letter salutation. However, it has fallen out of favor in the business world. The reason it is no longer acceptable is that it shows you have not taken the time to find out the name of the recipient. 

Anything with an exclamation point

The use of exclamation points in casual or informal conversation has become rampant. Don’t let it sneak its way into your emails. Under no circumstances should you use an exclamation point in a professional email salutation, even if you’re excited about the information contained within the body of the email.

Dear (Job Title)

Using “Dear Hiring Manager” or something similar is like using “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam.” Ultimately, it’s generic and can come across as impersonal to the reader.

Cheers

This sign-off can be popular among friends and in casual correspondence, but it is not appropriate to use as a professional sign-off as it’s referencing the social situation of drinking.

Abbreviations

Avoid using abbreviations such as “THX” or “TTYL*”. Abbreviations and acronyms are much better suited for casual conversation over text messages or instant messages.

Religious language

It’s important to remain inclusive when speaking to a group, or individuals you don’t know on a personal level as you don’t know their background. Avoid using language that’s affiliated with a specific religion.

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Wrapping Words:

Creating a professional email salutation may seem insignificant compared to the rest of an email, but without the right greeting and end, your recipient may end up deleting the email before they read it. With your newfound knowledge of how to construct the proper salutation, you can ensure you address each person with a concise, correct, and professional salutation that forges a strong business relationship.

Selecting and using the right salutation can help you present yourself with a sense of professionalism and will let your colleagues know you’re serious about your work. Though a salutation is only a few words, it’s important to select one that will create the right tone for your email’s objective and its recipient.

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