When was the last time you gave a millisecond’s thought to how you sign off your e-mails?
Do you reach for the safety of ‘yours sincerely’, ‘kind regards’ or ‘best wishes’ without so much as a thought for the recipient? It’s something so many of us are guilty of.
And yes, it might be time to reset your sign-off, if a new Bloomberg report is to be believed. It quotes PR director and careers expert Paul MacKenzie-Cummins saying that ‘best’ anything is a total cop-out.
It’spart of a wider trend of “vulgarised and lazy” language in e-mails,’ he says.
Apparently ‘best’ comes across as insincere – because let’s face it, you’re not really sending them your ‘best’ anything.
It should be reserved for family members, your paramour – heck, even the cat, in some households. But someone you met fleetingly at a conference three months ago? Not so much. Yet ‘best’, notes MacKenzie-Cummins, has boomed over the last few years.
He notes that many people now leave off the closing noun altogether. So it’s just ‘best’ – leaving the rest to the imagination. Text-speak, MacKenzie-Cummins notes, ‘has had the effect of diluting and, arguably, dumbing down the language we use. Ten years ago, for instance, few (if any) emails would end with ‘BW” (‘best wishes’) or “KR” (‘kind regards’) yet these are widely used today’.
It’s an etiquette conundrum – one that many of us didn’t even realised we were being judged on.
Back when I was at secretarial college (when you also actually had to lick a stamp), we learned two ways to sign-off correspondence: ‘yours sincerely’ if you’d met the person, and ‘yours faithfully’ if you hadn’t. Simple.
That, clearly, is almost outdated as the quill and inkwell – but what should replace it? (continue reading)