Email salutations set the tone for an entire message. It is the first piece of the message that a reader sees after the subject of your email. That is why it is an important element that you need to be careful about. Read on below to find out some of the best and worst email salutations you could possibly use.
Best email salutations
The best email salutation is one that is personal and professional at the same time. It can be tricky to achieve a good balance, but it is totally possible. Here are five of the best (and safest) salutations you can use in your future emails.
In business letters, cover letters, resumes, CVs, and other formal addresses, your safest bet is to use “Dear,” especially when addressing someone of high rank or position, like a manager. It may seem old-fashioned, but there is a reason why it’s stuck around for so long.
The most proper way to use this salutation is to follow it with an honorific or title and then the addressee’s last name, like “Dear Dr. Jones” or “Dear Mr. Harvey.” If you’re unsure of the title or gender of the reader, follow it up with their full name instead, like “Dear Brooke Simmons.”
Pro tip: When addressing a woman, avoid honorifics that assume marital status like “Mrs.” It is generally acceptable to use “Ms.” regardless of whether or not they are married.
Friendly, curt, and direct, “Hi,” is the perfect salutation for less formal emails. The thing to remember about this salutation is that it is informal, so it may not work if you’re using the recipient’s full name to follow it. Imagine reading “Hi, Miranda K. Sterling” in the message preview. It just doesn’t work. It even makes the message look suspicious or spammy.
Take caution and make sure that you are at “Hi” terms with the reader before using this salutation.
“Hello” is that middle ground between the rigid “Dear” and the potentially presumptuous “Hi.” It is still friendly and cheery but maintains a respectable tone that maintains your dignity. However, this greeting is not as commonly used as the two above, so your email might get a bit more attention as it’s somewhat unusual to receive a “Hello,” in an email.
If you don’t know the recipient’s name for some reason, or if you’re emailing a company account like firstname.lastname@example.org, this salutation is just about right. It is neutral, generic, safe, and totally inoffensive, and unobtrusive enough for just about anyone.
When addressing a group of people, “Hi Everyone” is a safe bet. It is a lot more elaborate than “Hi All,” but much less gender-specific than “Ladies and Gentlemen,” which makes you sound like a stage host at an event. Additionally, it is also a great way to let the reader know that they are not the only ones who received the email and that you are addressing the entire group.
Worst email salutations
Just as there are salutations that you definitely must use, there are also those that you should steer clear of at all costs. Here are five of the worst email salutations you should avoid in your future emails.
Sir or Madam
So, which one is it? Sir or madam? This kind of greeting only goes to show that you can’t be bothered to research who you’re sending your email to. To top that off, this greeting is so formal and stiff that it adds up to the awkwardness of the entire salutation.
Before typing in a “Sir/Madam,” take a minute to look up the person you’re sending your email to. Make an effort to find out who they are and their title. If you’re sending your email to a nameless address, stick to the tried and true “Greetings.”
To whom it may concern
Have you ever received an email that started out with a “to whom it may concern”? Do you remember how you glossed over it and not remember anything about the message afterward? Or worse, maybe you just immediately closed the email without reading further on, knowing that it does not indeed concern you.
It could not get sleazier than “Hey” when it comes to email salutations. It is outrightly disrespectful to greet someone with a “Hey!” in the streets, much more than in an email. If you really want to give your friend a “Hey” in a message, save it for social media messages and stick to a warm and friendly “Hi,” instead.
One of the biggest crimes you can do in an email salutation is to misspell the recipient’s name. It shows utter carelessness when you misspell a name in an email as it is assumed that you’ve had enough opportunity to check and look up a person’s correct name spelling.
If, for some reason, you are still unsure about your recipient’s name, a generic “Hi there” or “Greetings” should suffice. Although it may seem cold and aloof, it is still ten times better than a misspelled name.
Multiple exclamation points make you seem wide-eyed and crazy. It may be okay to express your excitement with one exclamation point for the entire email or when informally greeting a close friend. However, it is not at all acceptable in a business email salutation. Putting in a lot of exclamation points eliminates the professionalism in your salutation. Worse, it could make your email look like spam.
Email salutations are an important component of every email. It is the opening remark that sets the tone of how the email would be. It greets the reader, welcomes them into the content, and gets them ready to read on. Learn more about writing professional emails through this email etiquette online course.
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