how to end a formal email

Did you know that just as with phone conversations or business letters, one must adhere to email etiquette as well? In particular, it’s important to understand how to end a formal email.

Knowing how to draft a formal email, especially in this millennial edge, is essential for distinguishing between your professional and personal communications.

Additionally, a good email closing can be the line between having your email read and replied to or marked as spam or junk mail.

Are you already aware of the unwritten rules of formal email communication? In this article, we shall highlight a few of them with a major focus on how to end a formal email (specifically email signature statements).

But first:

The Basics

The basic format of an official email entails opening greetings followed by a paragraph stating your purpose for writing the email. At the end, a regular email must have a closing remark followed by your official name and signature.

However, sometimes, this format is altered to suit your current target audience and the anticipated reply. Closing an email that asks for a response, for example, will be structured differently from that of an inquiry.

Similarly, your prior knowledge of the recipient will dictate the tone of language used. How, then, should one end a formal email?

Rule #1: A Professional Closing Remark

how to end a formal email

All business emails must have a closing statement. Using a signature and your name is not enough. Your recipient needs to identify with your office etiquette so that they can gauge how you intend to communicate with them in the future.

It is rude not to include a closing remark. It shows that you have not put any thought into the recipient’s perspective.

An email closing serves many purposes:

  • It creates a lasting impression about the sender to whoever reads the email.
  • It can act as a call to action.
  • Combining full names, contacts, signature, and a closing remark provides a clear record of your communications and the identity of the sender.

Just as you close a book after reading, when you finish writing a formal email, it is mandatory to close it.

Rule #2: Always Include Your Full Name

You need to identify yourself using your full name. Based on this, your recipient will know how to address you in the future. You may also choose to add your job title after your full name.

If you are writing a series of emails in one thread, vary your closing based on the reply you are sending. Avoid using the same dull closing from the first email in the twentieth one.

Rule #3: How Well Do You Know Your Recipient?

how to end a formal email

When contemplating how to end a formal email, you should consider the relationship between you and the recipient.

Otherwise, the tone of language you choose can be distorted by a closing that makes the wrong implications.

For example, when addressing a government official or a moral authority, you may choose, “Respectfully” as your email closing to acknowledge their position, rather than a more familiar closing.

Other Examples of Email Closing Statements

Now that you know how to end a formal email, what are some of the typical email closings you can use? Here is a list for starters:

  • Kind regards,
  • Fond regards,
  • Looking forward,
  • Best,
  • My Best,
  • My best to you,
  • Best wishes,
  • All the best,
  • Best regards,
  • Hope this helps,
  • Yours sincerely,
  • Sincerely,
  • With gratitude,
  • Thanks,
  • With appreciation,
  • Many thanks,
  • Thanks so much,
  • Warm regards,
  • Warmest regards,

Closing Statements to Avoid

how to end a formal email

Avoid abbreviations, emoticons, or symbols when closing your formal email. Use words with neutral emotional attachment.

Some closings are only appropriate for an informal email, while endings such as “Yours truly” may seem outdated. Here is a list of what to avoid: 

  • Be well,
  • Bests,
  • Cheers!
  • Ciao,
  • Hugs,
  • Love,
  • Lots of love,
  • Peace,
  • Rgds,
  • See you,
  • Sent from my desktop,
  • Very truly yours,
  • Warmest,
  • Warmly,
  • Xoxo,
  • Take care,
  • Thanks!
  • Thx,
  • Yours truly,
  • Yours,
  • 😉
  • 🙂
  • This email is off-record unless stated otherwise.

Other Professional Approaches

Some closings are only appropriate when you are continuing an email thread, or you already know your recipients. Such closings include:

  • Using your name only.
  • Using your initials.

Similarly, some conditional closings depend on the nature of the email. These include:

  • Disclaimers

Use a lengthy disclaimer if you are expressing a personal opinion or suggestion that is not the norm on how you conduct business in your organization.

  • Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

Though old fashioned, it serves as a reminder that your organization cares about the environment and is making a small contribution towards preserving it by reminding the recipient about unnecessary printing.

ending an email

  • Sent from my Smartphone

This one is a bit tricky. Whereas the original intention was to excuse yourself from any typos that may be in the email as a result of using a phone instead of a desktop, this closing can come across as a way of bragging about your latest phone model or as an excuse for being lazy.

  • Looking forward to hearing from you.

This one works best when you are anticipating a specific response within a particular time frame. Otherwise, it can look pushy if used out of context.

  • Keep up the great work

This closing shows appreciation for a job well done. It works best when used by someone in authority to another in a lower rank.        

Other Tips on How to End a Formal Email

Add the name of your recipient to your closing. For example, you may write, “Thank you, Albert.”

If your organization has preset email signatures that you must use, ensure your closing matches the font style of this email signature.

If the graphics on the email signature are too artistic, you may want to repeat your name as it appears in the email signature, but using the same font as the email body.

Finally, never put a period after writing your name on an email closing.

how to end a formal email

Conclusion

How often do you use electronic mail to communicate formally – either internally or to your clients? Compare this with the number of business-related hard copy letters or phone calls you make.

The point is, we live in a digital era where the number of regular emails is ten, if not a thousand times more than written papers or verbal communication. If you understand how to end a formal email like a pro, you will always be a step ahead.

Use the tips we’ve discussed above to perfect the art of professional email correspondence composition.

You may also want to refer to this article on how to apologize in an email professionally.