How often do you think about the way your email looks before you send it, especially if you send a lot in one day? I came across an interesting article the other day titled “How to send an email” about how to successfully endyour email. At first, I wasn’t even going to read it because I’m one of those people who sends many emails every day to authors, editors, copyeditors, typesetters, my colleagues…you name it. I use my standard sign-off, “Best, MaryKate” and that seems to work out just fine. I do tweak it a bit for certain people I’m a bit more casual with, but “Best” seems to satisfy almost everyone. Even the author of the how-to article, Eric Adams, deems “Best” “Simple, and almost universally wieldable, regardless of whether you’re initiating a conversation with a new acquaintance or communicating with a colleague of 10 years.” I’m glad I did decide to take a look at the article, though, if only just to learn something new–and I certainly did.

I like to think I’m an approachable, professional, nice person, so I didn’t think too much about how different word choices come across to different people (says the former English major), but after reading this article I thought a lot more about it. I communicate with authors from all over the world that follow different social customs. Some authors address me as Madam, some as Ms., and some just address me by my first name and sign off with a happy-go-lucky “Cheers!” I don’t mind any of these, as long as I get the answers I need! I’ve never had a negative reaction from a recipient of one of my messages based on the address/sign off line alone, but it gives me pause to think that I could have come across as brazen or rude to some people if I try to over-familiarize myself with them from the get-go. This harkens back to a post I wrote on this blog about cultivating a professional image of yourself and how to take your appearance (meaning, your physical appearance, how you interact with others, and your demeanor) to the next professional level. My new philosophy is to play it safe when I address someone in an email for the first time (for example, if I’m writing an email to an author, I could try “Dear Dr….” or “Dear Professor…” and end with my signature “Best, MaryKate”). I can always gauge how that person responds and model my future emails on that–casual, formal, whatever it is.

The more blogs and articles I read on this topic, the more I critically asses my own image and that includes how I present myself in emails. I think this is especially important because I do the bulk of my communicating via email and it would be terrible to alienate important people that I depend on just because I didn’t take an extra minute to word my emails more carefully.

What do you think, faithful readers? Do you watch how you address and end emails to certain people?

Dog-on-Computer

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Also, check out these links for more inspirational reading:
1. 10 ways to present yourself more professionally
2. Tips for proofreading emails like a pro
3. Presenting yourself via email

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