Here’s an exercise in the art of letter closing…
So I’m on Facebook (as I am too often) and an interesting conversation popped up on the VO of NYC Facebook Group. Founder Carin Gilfry asked if you find it weird when people sign their emails, “Respectfully, Jane Doe”. She said it’s “because it reminds me of the phrase ‘With all due respect…’ which is typically followed by an insult.”
An interesting discussion ensued where people expressed which letter closing they like or don’t like. What was even more interesting was that there was no consensus. Some like “Best” and some hate it. One has an issue with “Thanks” but another is a big fan of it.
A observation by one was that the more formal the letter closing, the ruder it is. What’s particularly interesting is that is a very American perspective. By that I mean there is a correlation between formality & friendliness across international lines. I discovered this a few years ago when doing email-etiquette-by-country research which was later reinforced when I narrated the audio book “Culture Crossing” by Michael Landers.
Through my research, the Culture Crossing narration, and personal experience, I’ve learned that formality and politeness don’t always go hand-in-hand. In France & Japan, often the more formal you are, the more respectful you are. In America and Italy, the less formal you are, the more respectful you are. Clearly this varies from person to person and whether it’s a professional or personal relationship. There are also contradictions. In America, or in the below example, Canada, if you call a stranger “buddy” or “pal” it’s often meant to show disrespect. “Watch where you’re goin’, pal!”
TIP OF THE WEEK
For writing a letter closing with a potential or existing client, here are some guidelines from the website The Balance Careers:
Sincerely, Regards, Yours truly, and Yours sincerely – These are the simplest and most useful letter closings to use in a formal business setting. These are appropriate in almost all instances and are excellent ways to close a cover letter or an inquiry.
Best regards, Cordially, and Yours respectfully – These letter closings fill the need for something slightly more personal. They are appropriate once you have some knowledge of the person to whom you are writing. You may have corresponded via email a few times, had a face-to-face or phone interview, or met at a networking event.
Warm regards, Best wishes, and With appreciation – These letter closings are also appropriate once you have some knowledge or connection to the person to whom you are writing. Because they can relate back to the content of the letter, they can give closure to the point of the letter. Only use these if they make sense with the content of your letter.
Capitalize the first word of your closing. If your closing is more than one word, capitalize the first word and use lowercase for the other words.
Letter Closings to Avoid
There are certain closings that you want to avoid in any business letter. Most of these are simply too informal. Some examples of closings to avoid are listed below: Always, Cheers, Love, Take care, XOXO.
Some closings (such as “Love” and “XOXO”) imply a level of closeness that is not appropriate for a business letter. Rule of thumb: if you would use the closing in a note to a close friend, it’s probably not suitable for business correspondence.
Here’s my tip. When writing to a potential client, your letter closing should reflect your branding but err on the side of being formal. When writing to an existing client, you can (and should, in my opinion) be less formal but still polite since you’re striving to develop a more comfortable relationship based on strong communication and trust. If a potential or existing client writes to you, just write back using the same letter closing they use. That way there is a minimal chance of being too formal or informal because you’re using what they are comfortable using.
NEWS AND NOTES
Tuesday, November 6th @8PM EST: My next Edge Studio Marketing 201 webinar will be “Thriving in a Smaller Market City”. Click here to sign up.
November 9-11: MAVO 2018 is this weekend! Looking forward to seeing everyone. 🙂
Thursday, November 15th @8PM EST: My next Edge Studio Business and Money 201 webinar will be “Managing Your Money”. We’ll talk about how to think, earn, spend, and save money like a business. Click here to sign up.
Sunday, November 18th @2PM EST: At Soundvine Studios in Manhattan I will lead the workshop “Marketing for VO”. Since there are only seven seats available this will sell out super-fast so sign up ASAP! Click here to register.