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October 30, 2019

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Patty Rechberger

Hi Lynn,

Very interesting post. In my previous job, I often used "Have a wonderful day!" as email closing, in part because my messages were usually "stand alone", meaning there were not a lot of back-and-forth exchanges, and also because my tone was usually somewhat informal.

In my current job, my emails are frequently part of a chain discussion in which I am asking for something (documentation, information, signatures, etc.), and there is a lot of back-and-forth, so wishing a wonderful day each time seemed misplaced. I consider my boss to be a great writer, and she uses "Kindly," as closing, so I followed suit.

I was curious to see "kindly" as your main example of closings to avoid. I do mean to express that I am writing with kindness and respect, and I am trying to not sound demanding. I do not love "kind regards".

I am curious about your thoughts in this situation. Can you elaborate as to why "kindly" should be avoided?

Thank you!
(I want to write "Kindly,", so now I am stuck)

Patty

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Hi Patty,

What a thoughtful comment and question! You have made me think more about my "Kindly" aversion. I'm glad to do that.

There are several things I object to about "Kindly." In no particular order, here they are:

--"Kindly" echoes for me the sharp-tone uses I remember, either from my life or from the arts: "Would you kindly remove your wet umbrella from the doorknob?" and "Would you kindly stop calling me?"

--"Kindly" feels off to me. If I am the writer, am I writing to you kindly--that is, gently, pleasantly, agreeably? I appreciate that you want to express your kindness and respect. Respect works for me, but the kindness part doesn't sit right--for me. "Sincerely" makes sense because one writes sincerely. "Cordially" and "Warmly" and the rest seem right because they suggest a feeling. For some reason "Kindly" doesn't do that for me, perhaps because it is not part of my normal vocabulary. Maybe I should find ways to work it in more, as in "He kindly let me into the conference room early."

--It's uncommon. It doesn't appear in any of my three go-to style guides that include complimentary closes: "Emily Post's Etiquette," Robert Hickey's "Honor and Respect," and "The Gregg Reference Manual." I realize that fresh language is a good thing. But "Kindly" feels odd. The famous coach and educator Marshall Goldsmith ends all his messages "Life is good." (Or at least he used to.) THAT'S an uncommon close, and you wouldn't want to use it for your purposes at work, but it's the kind of uncommon that strikes me as fitting.

For your messages, what do you think of "All the best"? Or even the closing sentence "Thanks so much"?

I'm happy to keep thinking about this question.

Lynn

Patty Rechberger

Hi Lynn,

Thank you for elaborating. I really like "cordially", and I think you are right - it does a better job of describing the feeling I am trying to express. I am making the change immediately. I will aspire to one day find my own unique but fitting closing.

As a side note, I may have felt comfortable using "kindly" because I use the word "kind" a lot. The only time I use the word "cordial", is after dinner.

Cordially,
Patty

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Good work, Patty! You have already changed.

I'm with you on using "cordial" after dinner.

Lynn

George Raymond

Lynn, thanks for starting this discussion.

I reserve "All the best" for friends. I close almost all business emails with "Best regards". Otherwise I would have to remember how I close emails to each person. "Kind regards" is slightly too friendly for me, even for people I know. "Warm regards" is way too friendly. "Regards" seems cold.

But none of these closings bother me in emails I receive.

I like the no-closing option for public blog comments like this. Thanks for saying it's okay!

George

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

It's always good to hear from you, George. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

I agree about "Regards." Very cold.

Lynn

Roderick

Hi! :) This is very useful information! Thank you sharing this helpful article with us. One tiny thought if I may about "FAQs" in the title. The letter "Q" already stands for "Questions" so perhaps the extra letter "s" may not be needed. What do you think? Thank you, Roderick

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Roderick, thanks so much for your comment. You are right. I have corrected the title.

Lynn

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