‘Kind regards’. Fatuous, sententious, and perfectly clipped, in an English sort of way. Oh, and omnipresent. Why on Earth do we keep slapping these cold wet fishes onto the end of our emails?
In workshops at The Writer, we get people to think a lot about not just what they say, but how they say it. Because all language creates feelings. And we often forget this at work, because we’re a bit caught up in figuring out what we’re saying (which is understandable – that’s mostly what we’re paid for). So while we might spend ages trying to get the big stuff right, to make it sound just how we want it, it’s the little stuff that lets us down. Because we think nobody notices.
But they do. There’s a world of difference between an email that starts ‘Dear Mr Jarvis’ and ‘Hello Oliver’. And these choices we make, often without really thinking about them, tell us loads about how we see our readers, our roles and our relationships. It’s easy to see why we should focus on first impressions. But what about the lasting impression?
Next time you email someone, have a think about it. Do you really want to leave them feeling you’re an ‘All the best’ kind of person? ‘Kind regards’? You might as well just write ‘Whatever...’ because that’s how it sounds. And most of us prefer normal to formal. Because most of us would rather feel that we’re working with a living breathing human being. Not somebody who still thinks they have to write like they were taught at school.
Me? I think a simple ‘Thanks’ or ‘Cheers’ works pretty well. It’s what I’d say. And when I get an email that ends like that, it doesn’t sound unprofessional. It sounds like a human being. Not like my posh auntie, who gives Hyacinth Bucket a run for her money.
Why not tweet us your favourite sign-offs, and the ones you (love to) hate?
Kind regards, best wishes, all the best, regards, many thanks, yours insincerely...
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