How to End an Email in 15 Professional Situations
When you’re wondering how to end an email, just think about this:
Do you leave a book open when you’re done reading it?
The same holds true to writing a business email — you need to close it when you’re done.
But don’t just slap the same email salutations onto every message. Each sign off should vary depending on the context of your outreach. Otherwise, you risk a miscommunication, a reality that results from 44% of today’s emails.
Below, we’ve compiled 15 common email situations and the best ways to end your email in each.
When you’re thinking through how to end your email, you have two options:
- Add a general sign off to your email signature to auto-insert itself into outgoing emails.
- Write out difference email salutations for each message so you can tailor in real-time what you say.
So, which option should you choose?
A general rule of thumb: personalize your sign off every time.
Only add a blanket message to the top of your email signature if it’s an apology for potential typos (see example #8 below) or an important notice.
It’s worth the two seconds of time it takes to write a sign off for each email, and you can use a Gmail extension to spot-check for typos as you write.
Now — ready to learn how to end an email for every possible professional context you could find yourself in? Read on for our favorite tips & tricks.
15 Situations for Sign Offs and How to End Your Email in Each
1. Email salutations for when you need an answer to a question
Sign offs can be catalysts for action when they include a gentle reminder.
As humans, we respond to visual cues.
It’s what makes us skip to headlines as we read and what makes sight associations affect our memory.
Research shows that when you associate a task with something in your line of sight, it increases the likelihood of you doing that thing by over 40%.
It’s been tested with elephant statues and stuffed aliens, and it’s an effective way to end an email. Here are some ways to remind your recipient:
“Appreciate your help in answering my question,”
“If you’re able to reply by [day or time], that would be great — thank you!”
“Thanks for pointing me in the right direction,”
2. How to end an email professionally when you’re requesting a meeting
Keep in mind: your email might be scanned.
But that’s okay.
According to eye tracking studies, people read in an “F” pattern. Which means that your left-aligned sign off is the final thing they see in the body of your email.
This creates a final chance to remind them to say “yes” to a meeting.
“Hoping for a hole in your calendar,”
“Eager to work around your schedule,”
Test: If you’re sending a sales email, try adding a P.S. line to reiterate: 1) what’s in it for them, and 2) the short amount of time being asked for.
“P.S. Promise the ROI of [x] minutes with me will be worth it; you’ll walk away with [tangible value].”
3. When you need feedback or task completion
According to research, gratitude helps people feel positive emotions and, in turn, builds stronger relationships. Expressing gratitude also makes people view you more favorably, which is important when you’re asking for something. Use this to your advantage:
“Thanks in advance for your time,”
“I appreciate your help,”
“Looking forward to your reply,”
Thanks, and let me know if there are any hold-ups,”
Tip: If their follow-up might require some time and/or they typically need a second nudge, set a reminder that monitors whether they reply and pings you if they don’t at the day/time you prefer.
4. How to end an email when you’re nurturing a relationship
You’re familiar with this recipient, so show them you care. End your email by showing them you’re rooting for them or including a piece of content they might find interesting. Here’s how:
“Keep fighting the good fight,”
“P.S. You might find this interesting.” (Link “this” to an article they might enjoy.)
5. Prepping for a planned meeting or project
By addressing that you’re going to be in contact with each other, you leave the lines open to further communication.
“Speak with you soon,”
“Look forward to connecting soon,”
“Looking forward to chatting,” (Specifically for calls)
“Hope this helps,” (If you’re sending content or new information that is valuable to them.)
6. When you’re sending an update or fulfilling a request
The person (or people) receiving your email might have feedback, questions, or concerns, so bear this in mind. Also, if there’s more information to come, let them know.
“More soon,” (only if you’re committing to a future update)
“That’s all for now,”
“Happy to help if you want to know more,”
“Let me know if you have any questions,”
7. When someone’s done something for you
Someone went out of their way to do something for you 🙏. Here’s how to end an email with appreciation:
“Thanks again for [what they did for you — make it a quick phrase],”
“You’re the best,”
8. Closing email salutations when you feel comfortable breaking the norm
We like these pattern interrupts from Criminally Prolific that help you move away from what everyone else is sending. They also add humor, which can serve as a persuasive tool to increases reply rates. Here are some other favorites:
“Have a great day and watch out for falling space stations,”
“Sent from the bottom of my heart,” (a play on the typical mobile sign off)
“This message made from 100% recycled electrons.”
“FUN FACT: Penguins have knees.” (Didn’t know that, ThoughtCatalog)
And for mobile, some funny alternatives to “Sent from my smartphone”:
“Typed with big thumbs on a small phone,”
“Sent by my carrier pigeon, Percy Finkleberry,” (Props to Mashable for this one)
“Typed on tiny keys, just for you.”
“Written in smoke, translated by warlocks, sent from my palms,” (thanks to The Atlantic)
9. How to personalize your sign off according to send-time
We all like a good shortcut to getting something done.
Well, sending your email at the best time for your recipient no longer means waiting around. You can write it now and schedule it for later, personalizing your email salutations for when it will land in their inbox.
Here’s how to do that right from your Gmail inbox. And some examples to play off of:
“Have a splendid [morning/date/afternoon/evening],”
“Have a great week,” (If you’re sending on a Monday or Tuesday and don’t expect an immediate reply).
“Have a great weekend,” (For Fridays)
“Hope your weekend is going well,” (Sent on a Saturday or Sunday)
“Enjoy your holiday,”
10. When you’re wrapping up a project or other type of collaboration with a vendor
You completed a project with someone, and it went great! 🎉 Now take a second to show some extra appreciation for your collaborator — it’ll go a long way. Research shows that 50% of working Americans would rather be appreciated than have the opportunity to advance in their careers. That’s pretty huge, considering how much we all value personal growth.
So with that in mind, here’s how to end your email:
“Great working with you,”
“Thank you for your hard work,”
11. How to end an email replying to rejection
Something didn’t work out the way you wanted it to. You’re feeling disappointed, but it’s still important to appreciate the opportunity in the first place. Doing so can actually win you what you lost in the first place — especially in the case of a job. Be gracious throughout your email and express your desire to keep in touch. Then, sign off by reiterating the sentiment:
“Thanks for your consideration,”
“Appreciate your time and consideration,”
12. When you’re sending a reminder
Another instance of summarizing your main points. If your email was quickly scanned over, reiterate your main point to complete a task.
“Don’t forget to [action],”
“Again, please [action],”
13. When you’re sending a congratulatory note
When someone gives you a compliment, you feel obliged to give one back. Right?
It’s called the Rule of Obligation.
You might need a favor from your recipient in the future, so end your email with a final note that further recognizes their accomplishment. It will create subconscious, positive attitudes of you and your company.
“Keep up the great work!”
“In awe of what you’ve accomplished,”
Every time you end your email, chances are you’re conforming to a social norm. (“Thanks,” “Thank you,” “Best” — you get the point.)
So if your goal is to really get someone’s attention, break it.
It’s like when someone stands facing the opposite way on an elevator; everyone notices. Here’s one way to do it:
We liked this real-life example from Ralph Jones, who spent a month replying to emails with “I love you” (surprisingly, people were pretty cool with it). Here’s how his experiment played out:
😂 That escalated quickly. So much 💕
15. When your email is more of an instant message
There’s one exception to the rule of always ending with professional email salutations:
If you don’t start your email with a salutation (“hi, “hello,” “hey,” etc.), you don’t need a formal sign off.
It’s like an Irish exit at a social gathering — it happens sometimes, and everyone understands.