26 July 2012
Image by gwaar
A few weeks ago I asked you to tell me your concerns about business writing. (Note: You can send me your questions and concerns any time.)
One reader, Ellen, asked about polite things to say at the end of an email or letter.
She wrote, ‘I like to keep my writings simple and clear. It is short and easy to understand. That can usually gain quick response from the receiver. However, can I have some tips on saying good ending words, e.g. have a nice weekend, we hope to be of service....etc. If we can have more polite endings, that can make our communication more human and gain better relationship than sheer facts.’
I agree completely with Ellen, because good relationships are at the root of good business.
And it’s not just a business thing. We communicate with humans, who deserve our kindness and respect at all times. This is why it’s just as important to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to your close friends and family members – not just to customers.
So if you don’t already do this, start building the habit of smiling and saying kind things. That will make it second nature, and you’ll be seen as a polite, considerate person – someone that others like to be around.
You definitely want to end any kind of communication on a friendly note. So it’s very important to say the right thing to ‘leave a sweet taste in the reader’s mouth’.
Ellen gave some good examples:
· Have a nice weekend.
· We hope to be of service.
Statements like this would usually follow the ‘thank yous’. For example,
Thank you for meeting with us today. We hope to be of service.
Thank you very much for your purchase. Have a nice weekend.
Here are some other examples of polite endings that you can use either in writing or speaking.
We look forward to…
I/We look forward to hearing from you.
I/We look forward to working with your team.
I/We look forward to the start of this project.
I/We look forward to seeing you next week.
I/We hope to hear from you soon.
I/We hope to hear from you again.
I/We trust that you’ll find our [product/service] meets your needs.
Have a nice day. / Have a great day.
Have a great holiday. / Have a relaxing holiday. / Have a safe trip.
Should you use ‘I’ or ‘We’?
This depends on the situation.
Generally, if you’re the primary contact point or if you’re speaking only for yourself, use I (eg, I look forward to seeing you next week).
If you’re speaking on behalf of a group of people (or your company), you would generally use We (eg, We trust that you’ll find our product meets your needs).
Of course, people in some cultures prefer to use We, even if they are the primary contact. So use your own judgment. But whichever you use – I or We – use it consistently throughout the document.
Do you have suggestions on other ways to politely end a letter/email? If so, please leave them in the comments.