Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dear? Hi? Hello? Greetings? Good morning? Ugh! Sincerely? Regards? Best wishes? All the best? Cheers? OMG!

Everybody wants to get it right. Right? How do you open and close an e-mail? Would any of the ones above work all the time? Since I hear that question more than once a week, I know that people really want a definitive response to their question about the perfect salutation and complimentary closing. Their problems are compounded when they have multiple readers: Should they write “All? Team? Good day? To the Acting Members of the Stanislaus Sangerhausen Boulevard Flowering Pear Tree Lining Ad Hoc Committee?”

Fuggedaboutit. Here’s how I generally answer this question when it pops up: Address people in an e-mail the way you would if you were addressing them as they stand before you and as the occasion dictates. If you tend to say, “Hi Folks,” then write that; if you just start with your message without a greeting, then do that. Whatever—just make sure that the corporate culture calls for your chosen approach. You can also look around to see what others whose communication style you respect are doing, and then follow suit.