In the beginning… Salutations set the tone for emails.
My name is spelled correctly in my signature block; why do so many people misspell it in the salutation? It really bothers me.
My colleague started one of his emails “Happy Monday to all!!!” He must have had too much caffeine that morning.
Only my good friends call me Bobby – my coworker should use “Robert” or “Bob” in the salutation.
Unfortunately, the salutation on emails provides endless ways to upset your reader, as indicated by the comments above from participants in my writing seminars. And, if you offend someone in the first line, that person may not read any further.
Here are suggestions from my upcoming book, The Communication Clinic: 99 Proven Cures for the Most Common Business Mistakes, on how to start your emails without giving offense:
1. Spell the recipient’s name correctly
It may not bother you, but I want to impress upon you that many people are insulted if their name is misspelled. Check for the correct spelling in the person’s signature block. Copy and paste the name to make sure you are spelling it correctly. Checking the “To:” line is also a good idea, as people’s first and/or last names are often in their addresses.
2. Don’t shorten a person’s name or use a nickname unless you know it is okay
Use the person’s full name (Hi Susan) unless you know it is okay to use the shorter version (Sue).
3. Avoid “Dear Sir/Ms.”
This salutation tells your reader that you have no idea who that person is. Why then should the reader be interested in what you have to say?
4. Use a non-gender-specific, non-sexist term if you don’t know the person’s name.
You can use Dear Client, Customer, or Team Member. You can also use Representative, and add it to any company name or department name, such as “Dear Microsoft Representative,” or “Dear Human Resource Representative.”
5. Salutations are recommended in emails
Email doesn’t technically require a salutation as it’s considered to be memo format. When email first appeared, many people did not use salutations. Eventually, people starting adding salutations to appear friendlier and to soften the tone of their writings. (After two or three emails have gone back and forth on the same email string, the salutations can be dropped.)
There is a hierarchy of greetings, from informal to formal, and you should match the salutation to the relationship you have with the recipient. The hierarchy follows this general format:
Hi, / Hi Anna, / Hello, / Hello Julianna, / Dear Justin, / Dear Mr. Jones,
If the person you are writing to is a colleague, “Hi Anna,” should be fine. If you don’t know the person, or the person has significantly higher rank than you have, you may want to use the more formal greeting: “Dear Justin,” or “Dear Mr. Jones.”
6. Be cautious with the use of Hey
Hey is a very informal salutation (Hey Daniel,) and generally should not be used in the workplace. Opening with Yo is definitely not okay, no matter how informal your relationship with the recipient. Use Hi or Hello instead.
3 Strategies to Feel More in Control of Your Investments in 2019
3 Life Insights From the Jeff and Mackenzie Bezos Divorce
Weekend Warriors: Ortho Regenerative Technologies Begins Final Animal Studies in Rotator Cuff Repair
Advisors: A New Way to Build Trust With Your Audience on Social Media
4 Tips to Get Over Your Fears of Being on Camera
Top 7 Questions To Identify Core Leadership Skills
How Technology Is Helping Clients Take a Bigger Role Than Ever
What Happens When Labour Gets Commoditized
Top 10 Video Marketing Trends in 2019
8 Ways to Be Fearless at Cold Calling
Markets17 hours ago
Long-Term Investors: The S&P 500 Is Not Your Friend. Here’s Why.
Development17 hours ago
Again, and Again, and Again: The Way to Build a Great Advisory
Advisor Marketing17 hours ago
How to Integrate a Robo-Advisor Offering on Your Website
Equities2 days ago
MIT Says 2019 the Year That Blockchain Goes Mainstream
Sales Strategy2 days ago
The “Polite” Prospect Can Be the Most Difficult Prospect
Human Performance2 days ago
6 Techniques to Close Deals Faster
Markets2 days ago
Is the Market Rising Due to the Lack of Bad News Screaming at Us?
Markets3 days ago
The Early Bird Sells too Soon