The Dos and Don’ts of Email Greetings

27 Jun 2019


In this day and age, it is not unusual to communicate with a client almost entirely by email. Emails are a quick and easy way to relay messages and keep track of important information. ­

Figuring out how to start an email (especially when you are sending it to someone you don’t know very well) can be a bit of a challenge, though. You don’t want to come off as too informal, but you also want to be sure your email makes you sound friendly and approachable. 

The actual greeting is not the only thing you need to worry about. The name you address a person by is equally important. After all, most people have strong feelings about their name preferences, and calling someone by the wrong name or title can immediately give the person a negative impression of you.

And starting an email off with a generic greeting, like “To Whom It May Concern,” or “Dear Sir or Madam” gives a very impersonal feeling and can make the reader feel like you have no idea who they are and are just sending a generic email.

So, how do you know the best way to start an email? And what name should you use to address the person you are writing to?

This great article from LADDERS explains the importance of using the right email greetings and gives some great tips to help make your emails sound professional and friendly.

While there are several greetings that they have deemed as acceptable, depending on who you are writing to and how well you know them, there was one greeting that they deemed the winner: a simple “Hi (name)…”

According to the article, this is the best greeting because it is a safe and familiar way to address someone, whether or not you know them. Plus, you can easily add formality to the greeting by using a “Mr.” or “Mrs.” title, followed by the person’s last name.

While “Hi” was the overall winner in terms of which greeting to use, there were several greetings that the article advises against using. Some of them, such as “Hey…” and “(first name)!!” are just too informal. And others, such as “Dear…,” can be too formal and impersonal.

The article also warns against using too many exclamation marks, not verifying that you have the correct spelling of a person’s name, and using nicknames.

Ultimately, when sending emails, your greeting should be something that addresses the specific person that you are sending the email to in a way that comes off as friendly and respectful, while not overly casual or laid back.

And, perhaps most importantly, never send an email without a greeting.

Watercooler Writer 
Ever wonder what writers talk about? Our writers are always sharing something new with each other, from the latest and greatest in apps and technology to grammar rules and the origin of certain words. With our Watercooler Writer series, we have taken our very best finds, and are sharing them with you.

Related Content

  • 0 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *